124th U.S. Open

Pinehurst No. 2

The Loop

LeBron James makes bet with teammate mid-shot, doesn't even watch it go in

January 13, 2021

LeBron James took a page out of Steph Curry's book on Tuesday night, turning toward the bench while his 3-pointer was in flight. It was the highlight of a blowout win over the suddenly hopeless Houston Rockets. But it also was done for a very specific reason.

First, here's a look at King James' three from the corner and the exuberant reaction from his Lakers teammates:

That's just dirty. But it also made LeBron a quick buck. Well, a quick 100 bucks.

Turns out, Dennis Schroder had run up behind James to challenge him to a bet before the shot. And LeBron accepted.

"I told him to bet a Benjamin on it," Shroder said. "He shot it, turned around, and said 'bet.' Then it went in. It's just legendary."

LeBron added, "I took the bet while I was shooting the ball. A bet isn't official until you look a man in the eye."

Classic. Move over Michael Jordan closed-eye free throw and say hello to LeBron's mid-shot bet. Add that $100 to the four-time MVP's game salary, and, well, he made a lot of money last night. Actually, this is more like Phil Mickelson making bets with fans during golf tournaments.

Anyway, the NBA's reigning champs are just toying with teams right now during a stretch in which they've won seven of eight to jump out to a 9-3 record.

More importantly, an easy win let the NBA legend playing in his 18th season get a little rest in the fourth quarter. So LeBron had plenty of time to make a few more side bets from the bench if he wanted. Hey, even with COVID-19, it's still a long regular season. You gotta stay entertained somehow.