Lance Stephenson has made news in recent days for blowing in the ear of Miami Heat forward LeBron James, and Larry Bird is fed up with it.
Bird, the Indiana Pacers president, called a meeting with Stephenson prior to Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals Friday night against the Miami Heat, telling the 23-year-old to cut it out.
“He said, ‘Don’t do it again,’ so I’m not going to do it again,” Stephenson said after the Pacers’ shootaround. “He’s kept me on the right path my whole career, and if he says something to me, I take it to heart.”
Stephenson went on to say that if he had done such a thing to Bird during the Hall of Famer’s playing days, there would have been a much different reaction.
“There probably would’ve been a fight,” he said. “But this is a different type of game from the ’90s. You can’t throw blows.”
In addition to whispering in the ear of the NBA’s runner-up in MVP voting, Stephenson was fined $10,000 just on Thursday for flopping in Game 5, his second offense in four games. He was fined $5,000 for his first offense after Game 2 of the series.
Stephenson told Bird he would straighten up, and even admits that his antics may not have been working in the first place.
“I don’t think I can get into LeBron’s head,” he said. “He’s the best player in the league, he knows how to play through that kind of stuff. I don’t think it bothered him at all. I have a lot of respect for him. He’s going to find a way to play great.”
Whether or not Stephenson will actually listen to Bird will be determined Friday night. Game 6 is set to tip off at 8:30 p.m. in Miami.