On Monday night, LeBron James posted his 41st career triple-double as the Cavaliers crushed the Nuggets 124-94. But the news roiling Cleveland was that earlier in the day the team’s biggest star had unfollowed the official Cavaliers’ account on Twitter. Did this signal that James is ready to leave the Cavs for the second time?
James has 29m Twitter followers and follows 153 accounts as diverse as Ronda Rousey, Liverpool FC and Sprite. But on Tuesday morning, the Cavaliers’ official team account was not one that James was following. Cue much speculation that this was another cryptic message from James that he is fed up in Cleveland and wants out at the season’s end.
But according to Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com, the explanation was simple. James unfollowed about 14 accounts recently – most of them NBA and basketball-related – simply to block out distractions and prepare for the playoffs without the noise of social media in the background. And why not: who wants to be notified that your official team account is shilling for America’s most insipid coffee brand?
The only mildly unnerving aspect of the affair – for Cavs fans at least – was that James refused to answer a question about it after the Nuggets game. He didn’t brush it off, or play it down, or offer the aforementioned explanation. After three seconds of silence, he replied: “Next question.”
On Tuesday, however, James said he was simply concentrating on the coming offseason. “[I’ve started] a little bit sooner than normal, but you know I understand that [the playoffs] are right around the corner and I want to start mentally preparing myself for the distance,” he said. “So mentally I’m just being a little more sharper minded as of late, just gearing toward it. Understanding that it’s right around the corner and it’s going to be very, very challenging.”
The Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue added that he was happy with James’s form. “If he is going through something, the way he played last night, I hope he continues to play that way,” Lue said. “I don’t know. I haven’t talked to him about that. His demeanor has been more serious, more locked in, which I will take. What we’re trying to do moving forward, if that’s what it takes for him to get focused and get the team on track, then I will take it.”
This article was written by Guardian sport, for theguardian.com on Tuesday 22nd March 2016 22.09 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010