Nicole Kraft, professor of sports journalism at The Ohio State University, writing for The Conversation…
LeBron James had enough.
During the press conference after Game 1 of the 2018 NBA finals, James was questioned repeatedly by ESPN’s Mark Schwartz about the mental state of teammate J.R. Smith, whose final-seconds rebounding blunder contributed to a Cleveland Cavaliers overtime loss.
Over 70 seconds and four questions, Schwartz probed for the inner workings of Smith’s mind, before James finally stood up, put on sunglasses, grabbed his briefcase and walked out through the gathered press corps.
He uttered a single sentence: “Be better tomorrow.”
These examples represent a fundamental struggle between athletes and those who cover them: interviews contested in a press room forum that feel more like a mixed-martial arts octagon than Oprah’s couch.
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