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Beat the Traffic

Spike Lee appeared to leave the Garden early with the Knicks facing elimination and everyone made the same LeBron joke

June 03, 2021

Earlier this week, with the Lakers trailing by 32 with nearly six minutes remaining in Game 5 of their first-round playoff series with the Suns, LeBron James stood up, turned around, and walked straight down the tunnel. He did not come back.

As you can probably guess, the move triggered a take avalanche that continues to reverberate some 72 hours later. Partly because it’s LeBron James and people love to hate on him and partly because this is the kind of move that’s really easy to hate on. Lakers coach Frank Vogel defended his fellow Lakers coach player, saying he was just going to get his treatment started early, but the fact is no post-game ice pack is worth this kind of distraction in the playoffs.

Just when the dust finally seemed to be settling on Wednesday night, superfan celeb and veritable Jack Nicholson East, Spike Lee, walked out on his beloved Knickerbockers as they faced certain first-round elimination at home.

As you can once again probably guess, in addition to even more torment at the hands of Reggie Miller, Spike’s early exit sparked a whole new round of LeBron jokes on the worldwide web.

OK, so maybe “jokes” is a bit charitable. It was mostly just a bunch of eggs shouting “Spike Lee pulled a LeBron James!” Also, it's worth noting that Spike was just going back to get one last beer to drown his sorrows, and would reappear for the final whistle. But still the parallels were uncanny and perhaps the start of a larger trend this NBA postseason. After all, if you’re going to spend thousands of dollars for your team to tear your heart out of your chest live on basic cable, you may as well get out and beat the traffic.