Stephenson offended James, but it’s doubtful James pushed for this kind of retaliation. In fact, here’s a story on how James sees retaliation: In February 2006, Rasheed Wallace clobbered Zydrunas Ilgauskas in a Detroit-Cleveland rivalry game. Gash. Blood everywhere. Big Z had to leave the floor and go to the locker room to get bandaged before returning to finish the game. When it was over, Wallace made clear the shot was intentional.
Here’s what bothered Ilguaskas, a source in the Cavaliers’ locker room remembered: “He looks out on the court in the second half, and there’s LeBron talking with ‘Sheed like nothing happened,” the source said. “They were hanging out on the court, joking, and it really bothered Z. But that’s LeBron – or, at least, that was him.”
Ilgauskas couldn’t have been too upset with LeBron. After all, Ilgauskas followed LeBron to Miami.
Also, maybe this incident speaks more to Wallace than LeBron. Wallace – at least relative to his public reputation – was one of the NBA’s most-liked players by NBA players. Wallace appeared to give little weight to the public’s opinion of him, but by all accounts, fellow players, especially his teammates, adored him.