ESPN Column Defending LeBron Somehow Claims He Punched Juwan Howard's Cane

A good chunk of the sports media and NBA fandom relishes holding up LeBron James as the biggest sports villain that ever did live, so much so that every little flaw is blown up out of proportion and presented as proof that he falls somewhere on the evil spectrum between Darth Vader and Hitler. So ESPN's Rick Reilly penned a column on the station's site today arguing how ridiculous that is. For Heat fans, it's a pretty good read. Except for the part where Reilly seems to suggest that LeBron once punched Juwan Howard's walking cane.

Yes, a column arguing against Lebron media derangement syndrome somehow fell victim to LeBron media derangement syndrome.

Aside from that whole "The Decision" spectacle (something ESPN doesn't really want to linger on), Reilly runs down the relatively minor misdeeds attributed to James:

OK, he's not perfect. Threw a Gatorade cup. Punched a walking stick. Carries that stupid little man purse. But if you were to fill a plane with the most spoiled superstars in the country, he'd be boarding in the D group.
Wait, LeBron punched a walking stick? When did that happen? It didn't. It apparently came from a satirical, Onion-esque piece from TheScore.Com entitled, "LeBron James punches Juwan Howard's walking cane, leaves arena with arm in sling":<
"I just know we need to get Juwan a new cane. I'm worried he won't be able to get home."

Dwyane Wade sounded as if James would be missing time.

"It's tough," he said. "You get emotional. You make a mistake, you see a walking cane, you punch it. And now you deal with the repercussions.

"You'd be surprised how often an NBA player punches random shit following a loss."

If James cannot play in Wednesday's Game 5 in Miami ... well, that'd be ridiculous seeing as none of this actually happened.

Besides playing on that whole Amar'e Stoudemire vs fire extinguisher incident, the joke here is that Heat center Juwan Howard is old. It is undoubtedly a joke. itself noticed the mistake:
Unless Rick Reilly knows something that we don't know, it looks like Rick Reilly is a little confused. Also confused? Me, while trying to figure out why someone would think that LeBron James would actually punch a walking stick. As far as I know, LeBron hasn't punched anything, except for when people are using that term to describe a dunk.
So, basically public sentiment and media coverage of LeBron James is so twisted and deranged that even people looking to defend him seem to believe the most basic bullshit about the guy.

Oh, also, that man purse was awesome. We will hear no more said against it.

[via Deadspin]

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Kyle Munzenrieder