It’s just basketball, right, LeBron? Why not shake hands?

Well, it’s hard when you’re throwing one last temper tantrum. On a wild and whiny night in Denver, you threw more of those than the Nuggets took free throws, but the last one said it all.

Following a (second) game-winning and series-winning shot by Jamal Murray (who, by the way, was actually hurt and refused to show it, or, in the case of LeBron James, “showcase” it), James cried foul for the umpteenth time. The Lakers last-second heave didn’t make it, signifying the beginning of summer break for LeBron and his minions – but not before the aforementioned tantrum and a good ol’ fashioned storm off, handshakes be damned. With under four seconds left, even James should know that every official is going to swallow the whistle for anything short of assault, especially 50 feet from the basket. But that’s what he wanted, what he expected.

Speaking of assault, a few minutes earlier – at the 3:05 mark with the game tied at 99 – soon to be three-time MVP Nikola Jokic drove to the basket. What happened to him would land a young perpetrator in timeout and an older one in the back of a cop car. Appropriately, the officials called a foul, sending Jokic to the foul line. LeBron James, naturally, disagreed.

Naturally, the NBA did, too. It was an overturn fit only for a king – The King. At what point is the NBA embarrassed about this kind of stuff? Commissioner Silver, you’ve watched a lot of basketball; what did you see on that play? Can we please just admit that there’s an exactly zero percent chance that if LeBron James was going to the free throw line in the exact same scenario, the call would ever get overturned? Zero. None. Zip. Nada. It simply wouldn’t happen.

In Game 5 against the Nuggets, the Lakers shot 27 free throws. Denver would have shot 11, but the inexplicable overturned call at the 3:05 mark kept their total at just nine. It was the first time in NBA history that a series clinching win saw the winner with fewer than 10 free throws with the loser shooting more than 25.

Cry conspiracy or don’t, but unprecedented history is worthy of note. Furthermore, if it were up to The King himself, the free throw discrepancy should have been, oh, maybe something more like 35 to seven. Fair is fair. Show some damn respect, good people.

Come to think of it, why in the world does the NBA and so many who cover it want to watch this guy advance? Hasn’t the Lake Show turned Me Show run its course?

Perhaps it’s the drama – there’s plenty of that surrounding King James. To point, there is something entertaining about watching a grown man throw fits like a child. Besides, good drama generally yields good ratings.

Perhaps it’s because every good guy needs a villain. Good versus evil is the essence of every plot. If Joker is actually Batman, then LeBron James is actually The Joker. Bad guys are vital, and over the course of 21 fantastic seasons, LeBron James has mastered the role of the antagonist.

Perhaps it’s because he’s great.

And LeBron James is great. Some say the greatest. Whether you love him or hate him, leaving him out of the “greatest of all time” conversation is irresponsible.

But, sadly, it’s nearly impossible to fully appreciate him; his act has grown older than he is. He gets every call and can’t believe the ones doesn’t. He stomps and whines and screams and gyrates, yet he rarely gets rung up with a technical foul. The NBA’s officials would rather kiss the ring than stand up to The King, especially in the postseason. When things don’t go as planned, he’s got a sneaky knack for throwing his teammates and coaches – the very one’s he presumably hand-picked – under the bus. He verbally demands respect even though his magnificent game should speak loudly enough.

Maybe it’s fitting that LeBron James stormed off into the bowels of Ball Arena without so much as a “goodbye” much less a “good game.”

After all, when a petulant child at play acts up one too many times, who finally sends him home?

Why his Daddy, of course.