Sunday, June 7, 2009


NBA commissioner David Stern did an about face and slapped LeBron James with a $25,000 dollar fine for refusing to shake hands with rivals and for skipping the postgame news conference after Cleveland lost to Orlando in the Eastern Conference finals.

The NBA's 2009 Most Valuable Player left the building in a huff following the Cavaliers' 103-90 season-ending Eastern Conference final playoff loss to the Orlando Magic, James refusing to shake hands with Orlando players.

The move raised questions about sportsmanship and, after announcing he would not fine James, Stern had a change of heart.

"I said I wasn't planning to fine him and then I thought about it a little more," Stern said. "The more I thought about it, the more I realized there were two things I had to deal with -- the media and the failure to congratulate Orlando.

"It was inappropriate for me to give someone a pass here."

Stern said he called James personally to inform him of the fine and inquire about his health after undergoing surgery on Tuesday. James spent five hours in surgery having a benign growth removed from his jaw.

Stern said James, who had the condition for several months but decided to wait until the season was over to have the operation, is recovering well.

"He understands why it was necessary for me to fine him $25,000 dollars," Stern said.

Tissue was removed from James' partoid gland, which causes salivation, in a procedure that if often time consuming because of nerves and blood vessels in the area.

"I wish him a speedy recovery," Stern said.

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