I respect David Aldridge as an NBA Analyst. ESPN made a bad move replacing him with Screamin A. Smith, and I think that goes without saying at this point. However, in his recent article where he says that LeBron should call Earnest Byner to learn about sportsmanship? C'mon. Earnest Byner should call LeBron to learn how to not fold under pressure.
An excerpt from Aldrige's NBA.com Article is below:
Byner went left, looking like he'd score for sure. And then, he was hit from the side by a Broncos' defensive back, Jeremiah Castille. Byner fumbled. The Broncos recovered. Denver won. Cleveland lost. Again.
If anyone -- anyone -- had the right not to talk after losing such a game, in such a manner, after having been so heroic on the field, after having his heart broken in front of 75,933 fans at Mile High Stadium and millions more watching at home, it was Byner.
But Byner spoke. Did he ever.
"I was going for the touchdown, obviously, and the ball came out," Byner said. "So what can I say?...I tried to split two guys and the ball just popped out."
Time and time again, he answered the same question, over and over again: what happened? He answered it at his locker for more than half an hour, still in uniform, and if he raised his voice or was curt or profane to anyone, I am not aware of it, and neither are the dozens of reporters and camera people who were there. It remains the single most courageous, classy thing I have ever seen an athlete do. Ever. It should be required reading and/or viewing for anyone who plays any sport on how to handle defeat.
That's why you should call him, LeBron. He knows.
David, you might have be wowed by this at the time, but the whole event made Cleveland sick. And while everybody in Cleveland is well aware of the fact that Byner fumbled away a ticket to the Super Bowl, nobody remembers - or cares - that he talked to the media after he did so. And nobody would have even noticed - or cared - that LeBron didn't shake hands after the game, or talk to the media, if guys like you weren't making it a major issue. Move on. Time to cover the Orlando Magic and LA Lakers. And reminding us about Byner? Thanks for nothing.