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LeBron James defends reporter who asked about death of Popovich’s wife

Sports Twitter got ahead of itself.

 

Christine Friar

Streaming

Published Apr 19, 2018   Updated May 21, 2021, 6:04 pm CDT

TNT and reporter Allie LaForce caught criticism from NBA fans on Twitter Wednesday night for one of her questions directed at LeBron James, but it turns out the pair had discussed the questions beforehand. In a courtside chat with James after his NBA playoff game, LaForce asked him to weigh in on the recent passing of San Antonio Spurs coach (and James advocate) Gregg Popovich’s wife Erin.

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The Spurs announced Popovich’s passing Wednesday while James’ Cleveland Cavaliers were playing Game 2 of their first-round playoff series with the Indiana Pacers, and James seemed overwhelmed with emotion once the topic was broached during his interview. The sincerity of his reaction led a lot of fans to believe that James was hearing the news for the first time.

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“That’s such a tragedy, and my best wishes go out to Pop and his family,” James said at the time. “When something like this happens, it puts everything in perspective.”

Fans on Twitter thought the basketball icon seemed blindsided by the question and had a lot of feedback for TNT and LaForce.

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https://twitter.com/KMerz11/status/986782274023763968

But it turns out LaForce had vetted the question with James before the cameras were rolling. James was quick to squash the drama Wednesday night, posting a video from his ride home to clear the air.

“I’m not on social media right now, but I was made aware through some friends, through texts, that a question was asked to me postgame, and a lot of people feel like I was blindsided,” he said. “That is absolutely false. Allie LaForce told me that she was going to ask me the question and if it was OK.”

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“That was just my emotions coming straight from my heart about the late Erin Popovich,” he continued. “Also, guys, please get off Allie LaForce’s back, because she followed the proper protocol and she warned me. Get off her back, man. She’s very professional and she does a great job at her work.”

So there you have it: beef squashed.

James’ Cavaliers won their game 100-97 and will continue on toward the NBA title.

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*First Published: Apr 19, 2018, 2:26 pm CDT