"Stop with all that bitching man" - Ime Udoka's alleged dig at LeBron James that led to ejection
During the LA Lakers matchup against the Houston Rockets on Saturday, a verbal altercation occurred between LeBron James and Ime Udoka, leading to the Rockets coach getting ejected from the game. The heated exchange happened midway through the fourth quarter after a separate incident on the court.
Before Udoka's ejection, there was a tense moment between the players after Cam Reddish got into it with Rockets forward Tari Eason. All focus was placed on what was happening on the court as officials tried to sort things out. Out of nowhere, one of the referees blew his whistle and motioned that someone was getting ejected.
The events transpired quickly, and in the confusion, the commentators initially thought it was LeBron James who was being thrown out of the game. However, Udoka was seen heading for the locker room instead, which made it clear that it was not James who was getting ejected.
Both individuals were assessed with a technical foul for the exchange, and with that being the Houston Rockets coach's second, he was asked to leave the bench.
No one knows what the two said to each other at the moment, but thanks to some lip-reading, a sharp fan might have been able to catch a glimpse of what Udoka supposedly uttered, which led to his second tech.
Udoka allegedly called out James and the Lakers for complaining to the refs by saying:
"Y'all got to stop with all that bitching man."
This seemingly caught the attention of James, who appeared to chirp back. Afterward, Udoka apparently took a dig of his own.
"Yeah, yeah, yeah, I can," Udoka allegedly said to LeBron James. "What does it matter what I think? Worry bout ya own self, soft little boy."
LeBron James' side of the conversation was not heard, but it must have been quite an exchange if both received technical fouls for it.
LeBron James has been ejected two times throughout his NBA career
"King James" is rarely seen getting into altercations with other players, no matter how heated a moment gets. He is good at keeping his emotions in check to avoid getting into fights, which could lead to technical fouls and ejections. However, there have been two incidents in the past where he was tossed out of a game.
The first time he was ejected was during his second stint with the Cleveland Cavaliers, and ironically, it happened in a game against the Miami Heat. He drove to the basket and felt like he was fouled on his shot attempt, but the nearest official did not blow his whistle.
This prompted LeBron James to complain very animatedly, which led to a technical foul, and he was subsequently sent to the locker room.
His second career ejection was more memorable, leaving Detroit Pistons center Isaiah Stewart with a bloody face. During a game in 2021, LeBron struck Stewart in the face unintentionally.
Stewart became very heated and attempted to charge James several times as players, coaches and officials tried to restrain him.
LeBron James refused to get into it but was still sent off after a flagrant two was called on him for the initial hit.