Even Larry Bird is tired of Lance Stephenson’s antics.
With a crucial game six underway tonight between the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers, The USA Today is reporting Pacer president Larry Bird has expressed his displeasure with Stephenson, who was caught blowing in Lebron James’s ear during game five.
“Asked via text message if he were bothered by Stephenson blowing in James’ ear,” the article writes, Pacers president Larry Bird replied, ‘Yes I am.'”
And Bird is not alone. The USA Today is also reporting that league GMs across the league have privately chimed in over their disapproval of Lance Stephenson:
“One league GM told USA Today Sports he didn’t like that Stephenson blew in James’ ear and said he would have said something to the player. Another said that’s what Stephenson needs to play the way he does – as long his team is fine with it, but the executive wondered if poking the bear were smart.”
The poking the bear remark referred not only to Lance’s on-the-court antics, but also to the trash talking he’s been dishing out off the court as well. Prior to game four of the Eastern Conference Finals, Stephenson told reporters that the trash talk between himself and Lebron James showed “sign of weakness” in the king. His remarks prompted a quick apology from Lance, admitting that he “regretted” using those words specifically. Many expected Stephenson to lay off the childish antics following his mea culpa, but the ear blowing incident has kept his name buzzing in the media.
However, not everyone has taken Larry Bird’s side when it comes to Lance Stephenson. A journalist from the Miami Herald recently wrote in her column that Lance provided the spark a desperate Pacer team needed to prevail in game five:
“His fearlessness was infectious on a night when the Pacers were desperate. He set a cocksure tone on defense that Indiana lacked in three consecutive losses when they passively allowed the Heat to run over them.”
The Heat, led by Lebron James and Dwyane Wade, have a chance to close out their series with Stephenson’s Pacers and make their fourth trip in a row to the NBA Finals. The Pacers, who captured the number one seed coming into the playoffs, may not get the chance to utilize their home court advantage if they fall tonight.
And if the Pacers lose, Larry Bird may be dispensing more than his displeasure with Lance Stephenson. He may be dishing out a pink slip at the end of the year.