LOS ANGELES: Cleveland superstar LeBron James lashed out on Thursday (Friday in Manila) at Boston Celtics fans who burned their Isaiah Thomas jerseys after the point guard was traded to the Cavaliers.
“The burning of the jersey thing is getting ridiculous now! The man was traded. What do u not understand?” James said in the first of a string ot tweets, noting also that Thomas had shown tremendous heart when playing for the Celtics, suiting up for the playoffs in the wake of his sister Chyna’s death in a car accident.
The tweet from one fan of a video showing him putting a match to his Thomas Celtics jersey prompted the response from James and others.
Other Boston fans, aware that it was Celtics management rather than Thomas who were responsible for the blockbuster trade that brought Cavs star Kyrie Irving to Boston in exchange for Thomas and Jae Crowder, tweeted pictures of their No. 4 Thomas jerseys with thank-notes to the popular player.
James has reason to be sensitive to the subject of jersey burning. When he opted to depart Cleveland for Miami in 2010 — infamously saying he was taking his talents to South Beach — myriad Cavs fans torched their James jerseys.
Unlike Thomas, James was a free agent at the time, and on Thursday he also defended Gordon Hayward, the former Utah star who signed with the Celtics as a free agent this year, to the dismay of Jazz fans.
James noted that Hayward “decided to do what’s best for him and family”.
“(He) put in the work, got better, became an All-Star, etc!!” James tweeted. “If these guys weren’t good, u guys would be the first to say ‘get them up out of here.’ Man beat it!
“When ‘we’ decide to do what (is) best for us it’s ‘cowardly,’ ‘traitor,’ etc., but when it’s on the other side it’s ‘business’ huh? Ooh ok,” James added. “Man do what u feel is best for your profession, love, family, happiness…”
Spurs lock up Ginobili for two more years
Meanwhile, San Antonio legend Manu Ginobili re-signed with the Spurs in a deal that should see him play all of a 16-year NBA career with the same team.
The Spurs did not announce terms of the deal but Ginobili reportedly was re-signed to a two-year deal worth $5 million.
The Argentine veteran Ginobili will join Tim Duncan and Tony Parker as the third player in San Antonio history to play at least 16 seasons with the club.
The others to spend an entire career of that length with one outfit are Kobe Bryant, Dirk Nowitzki, John Stockton, Reggie Miller and John Havlicek.
Ginobili, 40, appeared in 69 games last season and averaged 7.5 points. He also shot 39 percent from the floor in 18.7 minutes per game.
Since making his debut for the Spurs in 2002, Ginobili has averages of 13.6 points, 3.9 assists and 3.6 rebounds a game, in 992 games.
He is also San Antonio’s all-time leader in three-pointers (1,431), ranks second in steals (1,349) and third in games played.
He is a two-time All-Star and also won the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award in 2008.
In 213 postseason games, Ginobili has averaged 14.1 points a game.
Ginobili and LeBron James are the only two players in NBA postseason history with at least 3,000 points and 300 three-pointers. Ginobili is a veteran of four NBA title-winning Spurs teams.