Jeff Teague recalls he once shoved LeBron James in the 2016 NBA playoffs: “My fault, GOAT. GOAT James”

In the intense battle of the 2016 NBA playoffs, the Atlanta Hawks squared off against the mighty Cavs, who at the time had LeBron James. It was a clash of basketball titans as LeBron was an unstoppable force, leading the charge for the Cavaliers, where he pulled off breathtaking plays with ease, leaving opponents in awe.

Among those who experienced the full force of LeBron’s prowess was Jeff Teague, a key player for the Atlanta Hawks at that time. Teague recently recalled a memorable incident during that playoff series when he found himself guilty of a physical altercation with LeBron.

Jeff Teague once shoved LeBron James in 2016 playoffs

Former NBA guard Jeff Teague recently opened up about why he pushed LeBron James during the playoffs in the 2015-16 season. At the time, Teague was representing the Atlanta Hawks when he forcefully shoved LeBron James, then playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers, into the stands during a hard foul in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Jeff Teague and LeBron James
Via SBNation

Although LeBron James appeared to shrug off the incident, Teague took responsibility and explained his motives behind the move. Reflecting on the moment, Teague stated, “We were losing. I’m a sore loser… He was beating my— I ain’t won a playoff game against that guy ever. I was sick of it.”

Teague further disclosed that the presence of LeBron’s supporters in Atlanta motivated him to retaliate. In an attempt to send a message, Teague admitted, “I decided, ‘You know what? I’ve got something for you.'” He followed through by delivering a powerful shoulder check that sent LeBron James into the stands. The incident generated significant backlash, inspiring Teague to delete Instagram due to the inundation of hate messages.

Teague further opened up about his NBA experiences and provided some humorous anecdotes post-retirement. Although his push on King James was considered unsportsmanlike at the time, it is now amusing to hear his candid justification years later. Ultimately, LeBron James and the Cavaliers eliminated the Hawks from the playoffs that season, eventually securing an NBA Championship by overcoming a 3-1 series deficit against the Golden State Warriors.

Since then, LeBron has added another title to his illustrious career, winning the championship with the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2019-20 season. Even in the 2023-24 season, at 38 years old and in his 21st NBA campaign, King James continues to perform at a remarkable level, averaging 26.4 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 6.5 assists per game. Teague certainly dodged a bullet with that shove, as a major injury to LeBron could have drastically altered the four-time champion’s career trajectory.

Throughout his NBA tenure, Teague played for several teams, including the Hawks, Indiana Pacers, Minnesota Timberwolves, Boston Celtics, and Milwaukee Bucks, ultimately clinching a championship with the Bucks in the 2020-21 season. That marked Teague’s final season in the league, concluding a career that encompassed both success and controversial moments.

Jeff Teague regrets his intense trash talk with LeBron James

LeBron James, undeniably one of the greatest basketball players of all time, has never shied away from annihilating his opponents on the court. His exceptional talent often left opponents in awe or, in the case of former NBA player Jeff Teague, regretting their decisions.

LeBron James
Via Silver Screen and Roll

During a recent episode of the ‘Club 520’ podcast, Teague shared an intense exchange he had with LeBron during a playoff game. King James, always up for a challenge, dared Teague to score more points than him in the game. Teague, confident in his abilities, accepted the challenge. Little did he know, this decision would lead to a long and difficult night.

“We had a game, and I think I had given Dellavedova like something crazy,” Teague recounted per Marca. “I was like, ‘It’s gonna be a long f**g night.’ He [LeBron James] was like, ‘Can you score more than me na?’ and I was like, ‘Yeah.’ Bron [told him that]. I’m like, ‘Well, you’re gonna have to show me.’ I averaged 18 in that series, and Bron had like 38.”

Although Teague did not explicitly mention the game in question, it is likely from the 2015 Eastern Conference Finals. Unfortunately for Teague, he and the Atlanta Hawks were swept by LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in four games. Teague managed to average 21.5 points per game in the series, while LeBron dominated with an average of 30.3 points per game.

Looking to redeem himself, Teague vowed not to get swept by LeBron James the following season. However, his determination was met with the same result. In the 2016 Eastern Conference Semifinals, the Cavaliers once again secured a clean 4-0 victory over the Hawks.

LeBron James has a unique ability to turn criticism into motivation. While some players may falter under such pressure, King James thrives on it, consistently delivering exceptional performances, and his relentless pursuit of greatness and unwavering determination sets him apart from his peers.

Sami Haider

482 articles

Sami Haider is an NBA writer at SportsKnot. His foray into basketball scriptwriting started in 2020, when he was enthralled by the Los Angeles Lakers' NBA championship victory. His previous experience was limited to dribbling and dunking as a neighborhood kid. His insightful writings show how much he loves the sport. His writing goes beyond numbers and scores, giving readers a unique viewpoint on the players, teams, and events that define the basketball scene. Whether you're a die-hard fan or a casual observer, Sami's work is essential for anybody trying to expand their knowledge and love of the NBA.


Leave a Comment