“Hey LeBron James, you must’ve been a really soft football player!”: Former NBA refs dish on how the Lakers superstar interacts with them to curb getting assessed a technical foul

NBA ref veterans like Danny Crawford and Derrick Stafford talk about how LeBron James manages to avoid getting technical fouls called on him. 

The first time LeBron James was assessed two technical fouls in the same game was in the 2017-18 NBA season, a whopping 15 years into his career as an NBA athlete. He was ejected from this game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Miami Heat and he would only ever be ejected once more in his storied 19-year career. 

It’s incredible to think about the most dominant paint presence other than Shaquille O’Neal of the 21st century has never been wronged by a ref’s call to a point which led to him getting T’d up frequently. 

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This is a bit odd as fans of the league know very well just how expressive LeBron James can be when trying to argue on a foul call he doesn’t agree with. Hand-gestures and emotive expressions are part of the norm for ‘The King’ in these situations. 

Despite this, he’s on good terms with most NBA refs. Derrick Stafford and Danny Crawford break down why this is the case. 

LeBron James and how he’s given more freedom with refs. 

An incredible piece from Melissa Rohlin of Fox Sports talks about how LeBron James has placed himself in refs’ good graces over nearly 2 decades worth of basketball. Danny Crawford, who last officiated an NBA Finals game in 2017, breaking his 23 year streak, praised James for having 0 technical fouls so far this season.  

“That lets you know how respectful he is. He doesn’t go overboard in trying to prove that he’s right. There’s nothing nasty about what he says.” 

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Another veteran NBA official, Derrick Stafford, talked about how he’s built up a solid relationship with LeBron James through the means of playful jawing. 

“I [Stafford] just said, ‘Hey, didn’t you play high school football?’ He [LeBron] said, ‘Yeah.’ I said, ‘Wide receiver right?’ He said, ‘Yeah.’ I said, ‘Man, you must’ve been really soft.’ He just started laughing. From that point on, or at least for that one game, we got along very well.” 

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