LeBron James explains how he 'malfunctioned' on that hilarious missed travel call in the Lakers-Jazz game

Over the course of a long season, it can sometimes take teams a few minutes to get into the flow of the game. As the matchup between the Los Angeles Lakers and Utah Jazz on Wednesday night showed us, that apparently applies to the referees as well. 

A little over two minutes into the game, LeBron James brought the ball up the floor for the Lakers, as he does countless times per game. This time, after crossing midcourt, he took a few seconds to survey the defense, and then forgot to keep dribbling. That sounds somewhat ridiculous for any player, but especially one of LeBron's caliber. However, there's really no other explanation for what happened. 

Just watch. He picks up the ball, casually strolls for a few more steps, then starts dribbling again as if nothing happened. Meanwhile, Bojan Bogdanovic is screaming and pointing at the referee to blow the whistle and call a travel (or double-dribble), but gets met with silence. 

While talking to reporters after the game, LeBron didn't shy away from talking about how awful of a travel it was.

"It was the worst thing, probably one of the worst things I've ever done in my career," James said. "I didn't realize I did it until halftime. One of my coaches showed me."

While it was one of those "athletes are just like us" moments, LeBron did offer up an explanation for what exactly happened in that moment and what he was focusing on.

"I think at the same time, I was watching the underneath play, and KCP and Donovan got into it. KCP started to run, and Donovan bumped into him, he fell on the ground," James said. "I think I was ready to pass the ball, and my brain just kind of just, I had a malfunction. I really had a malfunction.

"I feel bad for the refs on that one because they'll probably get a write-up on that or something."

To be fair to the referee, it does appear like his head was pointed in the other direction as LeBron pauses his dribble, which would explain why he missed the violation. When Bogdanovic screams, you can see him snap his head back to LeBron, who at that point was about to dribble again. 

It's a bit understandable that he looked away, as you wouldn't expect anything to happen when a superstar is dribbling by himself near midcourt. And to be honest it's not like LeBron got some big advantage in that situation. Bogdanovic wasn't pressuring him, and when he starts dribbling again he's still 30-plus feet from the basket. 

Obviously, he should have been called for traveling, but it's still a hilarious moment. And the fact that it was LeBron, of all people, only makes it funnier. Not only did we get to see one of the best basketball players of all time look like a clueless third grader for a few seconds, but the missed call will only fuel the conspiracy theories that the league is biased towards LeBron and the Lakers. 

All in all, it's just a perfect moment for the current era of the NBA

NBA Writer

Jack Maloney lives and writes in Milwaukee, where, like the Bucks, he is trying to own the future. Full Bio

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