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LeBron James hasn’t been called for a personal foul in any of his last five games

Dec 22, 2012, 9:30 AM EDT

Indiana Pacers v Miami Heat - Game Two Getty Images

LeBron James is arguably the most athletic player in the game today, especially when taking into consideration his size and stature.

There’s no question he can defend, and can lock even the best players up when motivated while making life very difficult for his opponents while roaming the defensive end of the floor.

But despite the athleticism and basketball IQ that James clearly possesses, he’s not a player that typically ends up being whistled for a lot of personal fouls. And in fact, he’s in the midst of a streak where he hasn’t been called for a foul at all in any of his last five games.

From Kelly Dwyer of Yahoo! Sports’ Ball Don’t Lie:

James has played 23 games now, for his 17-6 Miami Heat, and he’s still only registered 32 fouls on the year. It’s been five games, LeBron has played over 186 minutes over the course of his team’s 4-1 run, and he hasn’t been hit with a single foul throughout the entirety of that span.

The streak has actually gone on past 186 minutes. James was hit with his second foul, and offensive charge, 9 1/2 minutes into the Dec. 8 win over the Hornets. This means he played a good 25 minutes or so during that contest without an infraction, which puts the foul-less streak at over 211 minutes. Considering James’ All-Defensive First Team credentials, this is strong stuff.

It would seem almost impossible for LeBron, as involved as he is on both ends of the court for his team while averaging over 37 minutes per game, to be so careful defensively that he could avoid the ire of the referees, and escape form multiple games consecutively unscathed, in terms of the whistles he receives from the officials while playing on the defensive end of the floor.

At the same time, it’s always been that way for James — maybe not to the point where he’s gone several games in a row without picking up even a single personal foul, but he’s always been used as more of a help defender on his teams, and thus he usually isn’t the one who would end up in the primary position to make a defensive play on an opponent that would result in the foul being called on him directly.

Still, it brings into question how much “star treatment” a player with LeBron’s reputation is afforded from the officials. Given the sheer number of minutes that James is on the court, along with how involved he is in everything the Heat do on a night-to-night basis, one would have to believe that, legitimate or not, this streak can’t go on for very much longer.

  1. gmsingh - Dec 22, 2012 at 9:51 AM

    The officials follow David Stern’s instructions to the letter.

    • Mr. Wright 212 - Dec 22, 2012 at 10:45 AM

      To wit (I agree BTW), how does one explain how two of the Knicks top three players, and the other of three fouls out EARLY in the 4th on several questionable calls, get TOSSED at home? Get called for ticky tack fouls, get smacked all game with no calls? What’s Stern’s stance on the half dozen or so games officiated this way thus far this year involving the Knicks?

      • michaeljordanseviltwin - Dec 22, 2012 at 12:26 PM

        I can explain it.

        JR Smith averages about 20 fouls per 48 minutes and is a terrible defender. The rest of the guys have too much attitude and got tossed for talking.

      • 1972wasalongtimeago - Dec 22, 2012 at 4:38 PM

        I know you watch every second of every Heat game. I’m willing to bet you never saw one play that made you say the refs missed a foul on LeBron. Does he get fouled every time he “gets fouled”? Maybe he’ll get a call here or there that a non-star won’t get. But as far as defensively, I’m sure you don’t want refs blowing whistles on players who don’t commit fouls just for appearances sake.

      • badintent - Dec 22, 2012 at 6:39 PM

        Too many Knicks fans( including some of my friends) keep screaming at Stern at his seat at MSG, “Have another Donut smuck ! Should have retired in 2007 !”

      • badintent - Dec 22, 2012 at 6:41 PM

        Sheed been real quiet this year.Don’t wake up a sleeping giant.

      • gmsingh - Dec 22, 2012 at 7:11 PM

        The Bulls don’t foul a lot, but get called for a lot of fouls. New York was playing physical, and eventually when they started getting frustrated they started behaving awfully. Jason Kidd almost dislocated Deng’s shoulder and there was NO call. JR launched his shoulder into Butler, hurt him and fouled out, but he should’ve been called for a flagrant 1. The Knicks really should be looking at multiple fines for what they did on the court, so your complaints about the officiating is way off in my opinion.

  2. doorharp11 - Dec 22, 2012 at 10:14 AM

    I agree the nba is rigged but i do believe most players take pride in winning. Lebron james is no different than any of the other greats. I wish the nba refs would treat every team the same but there are markets to satisfy. That being said its not lebrons fault or any other player so let them all play at an equal field so the smaller markets (yes there are players and fans there too) can compete.

    • michaeljordanseviltwin - Dec 22, 2012 at 12:27 PM

      If you believe it is rigged then shut your mouth and quit watching. I don’t want to hear that crap.

      • raidmagic - Dec 22, 2012 at 1:30 PM

        Whether you want to hear it or not if you think superstars don’t get special treatment then you are crazy.

  3. spthegr8 - Dec 22, 2012 at 10:22 AM

    They call him the ” CHOSEN 1″ for a reason. If you have ever seen the way he reacts after being called for a foul, it EASY too tell that, HE NEVER FOULS!!!! This actually isn’t breaking news too your boy, he’s been getting the “calls” since he was in Cleveland. Just Saying!!!!

    • scalfor3 - Dec 22, 2012 at 12:18 PM

      I DESPISE that look he gets when he gets called for a foul. He actually laughs in disbelief that the refs would have the audacity to call a foul on him.

  4. rodyaugu - Dec 22, 2012 at 10:45 AM

    He didn’t have to defend anybody in the last 5 games. Stevenson Hawks, Harrison Barnes Warriors, Martel Webster Wizzards, Derrick Williams wolves and Da Jones Dallas.

    • spthegr8 - Dec 22, 2012 at 11:12 AM

      Regardless of who he covered, That is CRAZY!!!!!! Think about this as well, he ATTACKS the basket ALL THE TIME?????? He also plays in the post now. The NBA is DOWN WITH THE KIIIIIING!!!!!

  5. doorharp11 - Dec 22, 2012 at 10:49 AM

    The media gave him the choosen one not lebron. And yeah if there is one person who has lead up to being the choosen one it would be lebron james. This guy is 27 been to 3 nba championships consistently puts up points has multiple mvps and lets face it he is going to be in the nba finals for multiple years no matter who is on his team because he is that great. Look up lebron james career stats he speaks for himself with his play. He can play all 5 positions at an elite level and gaurd the best players at that position. If there is one player i would want it would be lebron because he can score points and play great defense on any of the greatest players because of size speed and basketball IQ. He is just getting started and but i hope my twolves get one in there in the next few years.

    • rtfinch - Dec 22, 2012 at 11:33 AM

      So you say he guards the best player at each position, and the article says he’s used as a help defender? and really? play every posotion at “an elite level” didnt he say last year vs indiana he “was worne out” defending david west?

  6. ebrownwareagle - Dec 22, 2012 at 10:58 AM


    Been in the League 9 yrs. Three finals and only ONE Ring. Care to explain. Although I do think he is a Great player, but he still has a LONG way to go.

  7. teehov843 - Dec 22, 2012 at 11:04 AM

    This is hard to believe. Sometimes the NBA makes me wonder and quick to criticize when i see and hear things like this! Just saying….

  8. broncosfan29 - Dec 22, 2012 at 11:07 AM

    thats why i hate the nba. the superstars get away with everything. it all started with Michael Jordan. thats when the nba started going downhill

    • teehov843 - Dec 22, 2012 at 11:17 AM

      Even with Stern retiring next year, i bet he will still be running the league behind closed doors…

    • charlescub80 - Dec 22, 2012 at 11:21 AM

      No! That is all…..

    • weaselpuppy - Dec 22, 2012 at 11:44 AM

      yup….it’s unwatchable for many reason, this being one. It’s been a rigged game for at least 15 years….probably more. I’d rather watch hockey, …oh, wait…..damn.

    • kavika6 - Dec 23, 2012 at 3:52 AM

      I think it started with Larry Bird.

  9. teehov843 - Dec 22, 2012 at 11:13 AM

    Few more reasons i question David Stern and the NBA…Cleveland sucks…Cleveland magically gets #1 pick to draft hometown kid (I know LeBron’s from Akron but you know what i mean) LeBron James leaves Cleveland…Cleveland magically gets #1 pick the following year)…Another example… Chris Paul leaves New Orleans…New Orleans magically gets #1 pick to get Anthony Davis… Bulls suck and need to be relevant again…Chicago gets #1 pick to draft Derrick Rose… Lakers need to be reIevent so they get Pau Gasol in a lop sided deal… Then gets Dwight Howard for Glass Knee Andrew Bynum….i mean i can go on and on… NBA does what it wants to do and doesn’t have to answer from no one…Just saying

  10. charlescub80 - Dec 22, 2012 at 11:20 AM

    This is a contact sport. This is not possible unless he is standing in a corner somewhere. This is a problem!

  11. dmv21 - Dec 22, 2012 at 11:22 AM

    Just hearing that makes me sick I can’t watch Heat or Thunder games the amount of bs that Lbj and Durant get away with is mind boggling. Durant lives at the line anytime a game gets close I hate it just play ball and Lebron travels at least 3 times a game it never fails and the refs completely blow it off smfh I understand the league needs LBJ vs Durant in the finals but come on just let guys earn it

    Sincerely a Kobe fan

    • scalfor3 - Dec 23, 2012 at 12:13 AM

      right, kobe never gets star calls…

  12. reesesteel23 - Dec 22, 2012 at 11:41 AM

    They’re making up for the non-calls when he rumbles through the lane, defenders slap at his arms or whatever else they can. Only player I know that can get whacked in mid-air and it doesn’t throw him off balance, therefore the foul doesn’t get called…..You cant have it both ways guys. BTW, no coach or player in their right mind goes at Lebron on defense ANYway. Who can take him one on one? Think about it….

    • rodyaugu - Dec 22, 2012 at 11:45 AM

      That’s the thing, no players want to challenge him, every time he’s guarding somebody instead of challenging him, they just swing the ball.

      • reesesteel23 - Dec 22, 2012 at 11:50 AM

        Exactly. It’s not hard to grasp this. Next time you guys watch a heat game, just see how many plays he is in on defensively.(not counting chase down blocks, and cutting off passing lanes) As much as dwade(my favorite player)pisses me off with his laziness sometimes, he is in on way more defensive situations than Lebron is…

  13. reesesteel23 - Dec 22, 2012 at 11:45 AM

    Only players I can think of that aren’t afraid to go at Lebron is Kobe and Melo…..O, and John Lucas III lol

    • scalfor3 - Dec 22, 2012 at 12:23 PM

      You forgot Paul Pierce

      • jimeejohnson - Dec 22, 2012 at 1:12 PM

        Paul Pierce couldn’t hold LeBron’s jockstrap, anymore. He may be scoring a lot of points lately but The Truth is way past his prime. He’s one of the reasons the Celtics are struggling.

      • scalfor3 - Dec 23, 2012 at 12:15 AM

        He said guys that aren’t afraid to go at him. Lebron is a better player (duh) but Pierce still gives him a real good fight. Look at that dagger three in the playoffs last year for evidence.

      • southbeachtalent - Dec 23, 2012 at 12:11 PM

        Dagger 3’s??? You mean the 3’s that didn’t take them to the finals… Not much of a dagger…

      • scalfor3 - Dec 23, 2012 at 12:57 PM

        Well, numbnuts, the term dagger three refers to a three pointer that seals a game. I shouldn’t have to explain that to you, but judging from your username you probably only started watching basketball two years ago.

        So yes, Pierce hit a dagger three in Lebron’s face in game 5 (i think it was game 5) of the playoff series last year. Pierce and the C’s know Lebron is a great player, but they are in no way scared to “go at him”. By the way its possible to give credit to other players occasionally, it won’t tarnish anyone’s image of Lebron.

  14. myschwartzisbiggerthenyours - Dec 22, 2012 at 11:46 AM

    He may be a great basketball player but he is a horrible human being.

  15. michaeljordanseviltwin - Dec 22, 2012 at 12:32 PM

    I’ve watched every Heat game this year as well as the last two years. LeBron isn’t as engaged on defense as he had been. He’s taking the early part of the season off in a sense, which is why the Heat’s defense is so poor. That’s also why he has avoided picking up fouls.

    Teams take their cues from the best player and right now LeBron isn’t motivating the team to play D. Later on he’ll probably pick up the intensity and commit a few more fouls. All you idiots talking about Stern, referees, and star treatment make me sick. Watch football if you want a sport without personality.

  16. miamatt - Dec 22, 2012 at 12:57 PM

    Whining about officiating is the last bastion of the damned. If you truly believed the sport is rigged, don’t watch and don’t fill up chat boards. LeBron certainly benefits from star treatment but most of the credit goes to him. Whether on offense or defense James plays smart and is just plain efficient.

    • jimeejohnson - Dec 22, 2012 at 1:15 PM

      Haters gonna be jealous losers. NY, LA, and Boston are tied for the most.

  17. cosanostra71 - Dec 22, 2012 at 1:59 PM

    Superstar treatment for sure.

  18. bowmanj35 - Dec 22, 2012 at 2:01 PM

    even as a James fan, this is a big reason I stopped watching NBA. Mr stern gets what he wants with superstars.

  19. losanginsight - Dec 22, 2012 at 6:34 PM

    thats how the heat won their * title in the short season.NBA doesn’t want Lakers to win it ever year. see CP3 trade as well

    • southbeachtalent - Dec 23, 2012 at 12:13 PM

      Lakers???? Hahahahaha they weren’t even in the discussion last year. And this year doesn’t seem to be getting any better. No worries, slow, old Steve Nash is due back soon. Hahahahahahahahahahahaha

  20. bigwii - Dec 22, 2012 at 6:46 PM

    If you think anyone that criticizes LeBron is a hater than you don’t know basketball you call l.a. And Boston fans haters but you don’t know why if you actually watch the game and know the game you know LeBron gets away with anything he wants you don’t look at the facts you just call everyone a hater there’s a reason people say things otherwise they wouldn’t be hating in the first place the Celtics and Lakers have 33 titles combined and yet you hate and disrespect them all you want even when the refs gave the Heat the series against Boston and if you can’t admit that LeBron gets calls then your in denial there’s a reason people say these things they don’t just make them up to hate on LeBron they hate LeBron because David Stern gives him everything he wants so he’s either not playing defense or he’s getting away with fouls because even the best defensive players get called for a couple fouls a game there’s something fishy here wake up

    • scalfor3 - Dec 23, 2012 at 12:18 AM

      punctuation. please.

    • southbeachtalent - Dec 23, 2012 at 12:17 PM

      Obviously stern wants the heat to win this is old news. I hope he wants them to win the championship this year as well that would be great. Who would’ve known that stern was such a heat fan? Maybe he just likes lebron but hates Dan Gilbert, that’s got to be it!

  21. midwestwarrior - Dec 22, 2012 at 8:06 PM

    just look at the indiana vs miami playoff series as proof it is rigged. once indiana went up 2-1, the officials were ordered on strict command to do anything necessary no matter how blatantly obvious it is , to make sure lebron and miami won that series. that was a total disgrace to watch

  22. thesportsguy52 - Dec 22, 2012 at 11:37 PM


    …how exactly is the NFL a sport with no personality? Please explain this to me. I sense some overly biased basketball preferences and a chip on your shoulder because the NFL rules this country-rightfully.

  23. jtmartinez34 - Dec 22, 2012 at 11:52 PM

    Another reason why the NBA stinks and the queen is ruining the game. Crap.

  24. thetooloftools - Dec 23, 2012 at 12:11 AM

    Google “LeBron James and Sharon Reed”.
    He owns everything but his child.

  25. kavika6 - Dec 23, 2012 at 4:01 AM

    LeBron the flop-master. He should retire from basketball and become an actor.

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