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Nate Robinson hit LeBron in face, which became a thing on twitter (VIDEO)

May 16, 2013, 11:44 AM EDT

That was a pretty minor play in this game — in the fourth quarter the Heat were on a fast break and, as they have done all series long, the Bulls tried to go with the “Euro foul” out at midcourt before the play developed to break it up.

Except, nothing is minor when Nate Robinson and LeBron James are involved.

Robinson made the foul and in doing so his hand slid up and caught LeBron James in the face. LeBron’s head snapped back. The refs called the foul a flagrant one to review it.

And on twitter, it was on — there was a large “look at LeBron flop again” contingent. LeBron’s reaction seemed exaggerated to the relatively minor contact. The people who don’t like LeBron are always lurking just beneath the surface online and this series — where Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau accused LeBron of flopping on the Nazr Mohammed shove — brought them out like cicadas. Complete with all the chirping.

They said LeBron embellished that contact. They went to the flop card.

Yes, LeBron’s head snapped back. What is your instinctive reaction when somebody hits you in the face? You pull your head back. Decide for yourself how exaggerated it was.

In the end, the refs got this right; they changed the call to a common foul. Which it was. There was no intent to injure, no intent to go to the face, and LeBron’s reaction was not out of line. It was a playoff foul and play. Everybody play on.

Of course, it never goes quite like that on twitter.

Thanks to Ben at The Point Forward at SI for the video.

  1. karlton3 - May 16, 2013 at 11:49 AM

    It looked to me like Robinson never even touched him in the face.

    • eventhorizon04 - May 16, 2013 at 12:10 PM

      You may want to get glasses, then.

      (Assuming you’re able to read this comment)

      While I don’t think the contact looked that severe, to claim there was NO contact at all is a huge stretch.

    • 4thquartermagic - May 16, 2013 at 1:07 PM

      6’8″ 270 just got worked by 5’9″ 170.

      Lol c’mon LeBron.

      • andrewproughcfe - May 16, 2013 at 1:39 PM

        Lebron snaps his head back like he just got knocked out by Mike Tyson. Hilarious.

        Dude is going to win an Oscar one of these days.

      • 4thquartermagic - May 16, 2013 at 2:13 PM

        “Im taking my (flopping) talents, to Hollywood.”

    • 91devinhester23 - May 16, 2013 at 9:34 PM

      lebron flops? no waaaay

  2. eagles512 - May 16, 2013 at 12:00 PM

    I agree Kerr was wrong to say he embellished. Of course you snap your head if hit in the face.

    • ProBasketballPundit - May 16, 2013 at 12:14 PM

      Exactly… when you watch it in slow motion it looks like a person has time to choose a reaction but in reality you get hit in the face you jerk your head away.

  3. acdc363 - May 16, 2013 at 12:02 PM

    Lebron’s head jerk just looked to me like it was a reaction to getting hit. Not exaggerating the foul just backing his head out of harm’s way.

  4. asuthyo - May 16, 2013 at 12:03 PM

    I was saying the same thing about jerking your head when you get hit in the face when I was watching the game. You can barely be touched in the face and jerk back so I would say he didn’t embellish at all, he just had a normal reaction.

  5. pudgalvin - May 16, 2013 at 12:05 PM

    I’ve got no problem with the face thing. At full speed, even a little tap in the face can snap your head back. It’s the 3 seconds later, flinging himself to the ground (though not without looking behind him to make sure he was clear) I just got shot by a cannon action that I think was a flop. Damndest thing, later in the game, he gets wrapped up by a guy that’s 6’10” 260 driving to the bucket and he fights through it to not only not fall to the ground but he makes his layup. But he gets smacked by the smallest guy and the court and again he goes down like a redwood. And they can’t say he wasn’t looking for it this time either.

    It’s all gameship, I’m down with that, I get it. But don’t be so freaking incredulous that you were accused of flopping.

    • jaerba - May 16, 2013 at 12:24 PM

      I agree with this.

      I didn’t think he flopped on the Nazr shove, given how hard it is to keep your balance if you’re standing flat-footed and not braced for it, but it does look like he landed properly and then flung himself backwards on this play. If he’d tripped it might be different, but it looks like he lands perfectly stable.

  6. teehov843 - May 16, 2013 at 12:09 PM

    I wonder how will the LBJ d!ck riders defend this flop? He didn’t even get touched! SMH!

    • Mr. Wright 212 - May 16, 2013 at 12:47 PM

      Read above, they’ve already been trying to do so.

  7. breastfedted - May 16, 2013 at 12:16 PM

    You know what else jerked? This blogger’s hand, to a picture of Lebron, after writing this joke of an entry.

    • ceschatz - May 16, 2013 at 12:39 PM

      Lay off your momma’s teet Ted, the estrogen is going to your head and making you a whining little B**ch

  8. kb2408 - May 16, 2013 at 12:17 PM

    If they square off, I’m taking Lil Nate by tko. He would make LeBron quit.

  9. reesesteel23 - May 16, 2013 at 12:30 PM

    There is difference between getting fouled and exaggerating contact and just plain ol flopping

  10. beachsidejames - May 16, 2013 at 12:32 PM

    BYE CHIT TOWN…

  11. beachsidejames - May 16, 2013 at 12:39 PM

    Nate hits Lebron in the face and it Nate that sports the shiny new fat lip. Go home Nat.

  12. rod2771 - May 16, 2013 at 12:44 PM

    What sad little lives you haters have. I guess the garbage you all spew is somehow therapeutic. Nothing but sports nerds sweating a basketball game.

  13. brycebstone - May 16, 2013 at 1:21 PM

    Pudgalvin got it right.

    The head snap thing looked exaggerated because it didn’t seem that forceful of a hit. But I can forgive that. No big deal.

    But then he fell!

    LeBron has absurd body control that is on display as he gets mugged while driving the lane. But then Nate Robinson knocks him on his butt?

    I flopped in soccer because I needed to in order to be competitive. I was smaller, slower, and weaker than the forwards I was guarding. So I was overly physical and flopped when they retaliated.

    James is on another level than everyone else. Best player on planet–bar none. Flopping this frequently is beneath him.

  14. beachsidejames - May 16, 2013 at 2:48 PM

    Was Nate one of the original Munchkins?

  15. chicitybulls - May 16, 2013 at 3:16 PM

    Look, anybody that has played competitive basketball for an extended amount of time will get hit in the face inadvertantly. There is a difference from being hit in the face/head from a punch which will make your head snap back like Guerrero’s did when Mayweather hit him and a graze of the face after the opposing player hits your arm first then his hand slides up your arm and grazes your face which is what happened here. People that like lebron and the heat will say it’s a hit to the face and natural to snap your head back and people who dont will say he flopped. The truth, as always, is somewhere in the middle. Like someone earlier said he tried to sell the call. Unfortunately, like flopping, this is where a lot of players are in the NBA today….and I hate it. I dont like trying to get a call by trying to deceive the ref regardless of what player does it. I dont care if it is a Bulls player or any other player from any other team. Whatever happened to REAL competition? Man to man? Head to head. Let’s see who the best player is. Guess that only happens on the playgrounds and gyms now.

  16. dannymac17 - May 16, 2013 at 3:49 PM

    LMAO ol boy flopped from a hand slap that never even happened

    Lebron is turning into the player i despise again.

  17. gamustangdude - May 16, 2013 at 4:20 PM

    People are foolish to assume that Robinson’s contact is the reason is head snapped back. How about the NORMAL reaction of snapping your head back to AVOID contact? If another person’s hands were coming at my face pretty fast like Robinson’s hands were, I’d snap my head back as well to AVOID the contact. That’s exactly what LeBron is doing here.

    All the ignorant fools out there trying to compare this to getting punched in the face or claiming he was flopping, grow up and act like a freaking adult. Something coming at your face you try to avoid it plain and simple, you wouldn’t wait for it to hit your face then react, that’s what stupid people would do. You’d try to avoid, LeBron tried to avoid contact not embellish. Grow the F&&K up already

  18. asuthyo - May 16, 2013 at 4:32 PM

    My biggest problem with the flopping that happens in the NBA isn’t that it happens, it’s that so many fans freak out about it. Most players flop in some way now so Lebron or Kobe doing it isn’t any different. Also, it isn’t the only sport where it happens (and I’m not just talking about soccer because honestly who cares). In the NFL D-Lineman act as if they’re being held and WRs act like they’re being interfered with. In the MLB (although not very often) batters act like they’ve been hit by a pitch. In the NHL players embellish penalties. The NBA doesn’t have a problem anymore than the other major sports.

  19. pantsfreezone - May 16, 2013 at 4:54 PM

    Holy moses, you guys gotta let your jealousy for LeBron and the Heat go. EVERY. SINGLE. NBA. PLAYER. EXAGGERATES. CONTACT.

    Watch a game, you ninnies. And if someone, anyone throws a hand in your face, you react exactly as LeBron did, you try not to get hit in the face. Sheesh.

    • chicitybulls - May 16, 2013 at 8:21 PM

      That’s the problem I’m talking about. That, as you say, every single nba player exaggerates contact. It’s not a basketball play. It’s meant to fool/sell something to the ref. A few years ago Rose wasn’t doing that and consequently he wouldn’t get calls even though he was hammered. He later started doing it after people said he should “sell the foul” and started getting the calls. Call me old school or maybe I play too much at the gym and playground but that wasn’t/isn’t how it was/is. You didn’t sell calls back in the 80s and early 90s and you don’t get that at the gym or at the playground. You don’t strike me as a player so I wouldn’t really expect you to understand my point.

      “And if someone, anyone throws a hand in your face, you react exactly as LeBron did, you try not to get hit in the face.”

      So YOU’RE that guy that if someone fakes like they’re going to hit you in the face you flinch. They have a name for that. It’s called skiddish (and that’s the polite word for it).

  20. beachsidejames - May 16, 2013 at 6:41 PM

    Anybody thats played competitive bball for even 5 minutes knows that the Bulls couldn’t compete with the Miami Heat and resorted to cheap shots the entire series. Whats hard for their fans to take was that Miami was able to take their cheap shots turn it around and flat out beat the snot out of the Bulls.

    • chicitybulls - May 16, 2013 at 8:25 PM

      Congratulations, your team beat an incomplete, injured team (as they were supposed to do) playing on will power. You probably take pleasure in beating your 8 yr old sister in Connect Four, Mario Kart or Little Big Planet. I can see you now. “Yeah Amy, take that you little bit..”

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