Last night, the San Antonio Spurs announced that Erin Popovich, wife of long-time head coach Gregg Popovich passed away. Word spread during Game 2 of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Indiana Pacers series and after the Cavs won, LeBron appeared for a postgame interview with TNT's Allie LaForce. After some routine basketball questions, LaForce appeared to blindside LeBron with a question about Popovich and he appeared to be at a loss for words, and was kind of shocked, but sent a heartfelt message to Popovich and the Spurs. The internet promptly starting taking LaForce to task for what looked like at best, a very strange moment.
LeBron struggled to find the right words a bit but offered thoughts and prayers, and reiterated how much he admires Popovich. "That's such a tragedy, and my best wishes go out to Pop and his family. Holy sh—that's just a lot." He appeared to be caught off guard, and people were pissed.
But there was more to it, as we would soon learn. LaForce apparently told LeBron about it off camera—picked up by the live feed on the NBA app.
As the story began to get traction, and LaForce kept getting piled on, TNT set the record straight:
"She had told him about the passing of Erin Popovich, and asked if he wanted to comment," Johnson said. "He said he would, and his words were heartfelt."
LeBron, who is on a social media hiatus, also set the record straight about LaForce in a video for Uninterrupted.
"A lot of people felt like I was blindsided. That is absolutely false. Allie LaForce told me that she was going to ask me the question and if it was OK. Once I started talking about it—once we were on air—actually my emotions just kind of took over and that was just my emotions coming straight from my heart about the late Erin Popovich."
"Guys, please get off Allie LaForce's back, because she followed the proper protocol and she warned me, so get off her back, man. She's very professional, and she does a great job at her work."
It is the classic internet phenomenon: a knee jerk reaction based on limited information gets people all worked up and they start firing off tweets.