LeBron James Complies With NBA's Request To Wear Clear Mask, Ditches Black Mask
LeBron James gave in to the NBA for Miami Heat’s game against the Orlando Magic, swapping out his black mask for the favored clear one.
Lebron James Black Mask Saga
Though James didn’t reveal the reasons the NBA gave him for “requesting” that he use a clear mask to protect his broken nose, the NBA MVP stated his willingness to comply.
"It's not a league rule, but it's the league's request that you don't wear the black one,” James said in his pre-game media session. “For the reasons that they told me, it didn't make sense to me. But hey, I'm just a player in this league and I will abide by this request — I'm not even going to say rule, but request — by the NBA."
"I don't want to get into it," James added. "I'm good with the NBA. We're good. I am not against the NBA. They had a request and I fulfilled it. Let's just leave it at that. As long as (the mask) is transparent. As long as they can see my face, my opponents."
According to the NBA, they were under the impression that the reason why James wore the discouraged carbon fiber black mask for Thursday’s game was because he didn’t have a clear one that fit him well enough.
"It is our understanding LeBron used the black mask because a clear one he was comfortable with wasn't ready," NBA spokesman Tim Frank said, according to ESPN.
James' Teammates, Coach On His Mask
James’ teammates found the whole situation somewhat amusing, and par for the course – whatever James does is going to get attention.
"Only LeBron can make breaking your nose look cool," said forward Shane Battier.
"We know that if LeBron changes his clothes, that's going to be a big deal," center Chris Bosh said, according to ESPN. "So whatever he does, that's going to garner a lot of attention. It was a story, and now they said he can't wear [the black mask] anymore, so that's that. I haven't seen the clear one yet, so we'll see [tonight]."
At the end of the day on Saturday, the most important thing was that James was able to play comfortably and confidently. "He felt comfortable," said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra. "What I looked at more than anything was his aggressiveness. Was he attacking? There's no question he was, with 11 layup attempts and virtually everything in the point, going to the rim, and continuing to finish while getting fouled. Those are the notable things I was looking for."
– Chelsea Regan
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