Millions could suffer from his actions

LeBron James broke the NBA's own rules in public
LeBron James broke the NBA’s own rules in publicAP

The cameras are always on LeBron James, and over the weekend, his lack of discretion got him in big trouble. A video from his son’s basketball game showed James engaging in illegal activity on his iPad in a move that could ruin not only his reputation, but the lives of millions of NBA fans.

LeBron James breaks the law

Even while supporting his son, Bryce James, at a Nike Elite Youth Basketball League (EYBL) event, the Los Angeles Lakers star couldn’t peel himself away from his tablet.

LeBron and his entourage took turns gazing at the iPad. Initially, a video was posted where it was unclear what was on the screen, and fans cracked jokes that they were playing video games like little kids.

Once a video emerged that showed what was really on the screen, the evidence was damning and all of a sudden it was not a joking matter. James’ friend had pulled up the popular sports streaming website StreamEast, while the all-time leading scorer looked over to get a peek at what was going on in the Timberwolves vs Mavericks NBA Playoffs series.

Broadcasting NBA games without the expressed written consent of the league is illegal. However, websites that redistribute streams have become increasingly popular among fans of The Association who are willing to take the risk so they don’t have to fork out hundreds of dollars per month for cable television, sports streaming subscriptions and NBA League Pass.

The illegal practice is treated much like driving over the speed limit. It is a widely accepted behavior, but if authorities take a strict view, a lot of people could get in trouble for it. However, most of the legal risk is assumed by the websites that produce the streams, not individual users like James or the countless thousands of NBA fans who partake.

A huge problem for NBA fans

Even as a billionaire and face of the league who puts the laws in place, King James‘ insistence on a free stream illustrates just how big of a problem the cost of watching sports is for common fans. However, the public reaction to his actions was not to embrace how much LeBron has in common with them.

“if they block this cause of bro ima be hot,” said an Instagram comment with almost 20,000 likes, fearing for the anonymity of the streaming site after LeBron was spotted using it.

“Delete ts bra, imagine when we gon try watch the Celtics game later they done shut down the whole site,” said another comment that inspired nearly 15,000 likes.

LeBron just wanted to watch the game. All of a sudden, the ability of everyday fans to do the same is in imminent danger.