There are many ways to psych out an opponent. The Indiana Pacers’ Lance Stephenson went the unconventional route last night, softly blowing into LeBron James’ ear during a pause late in their playoff game.
“He didn’t just do that,” James’ face seems to say.
“Yes I did,” Stephenson’s expression answers.
After the game, the players didn’t want to discuss the moment; Stephenson said he was “just playing ball,” according to the Indianapolis Star.
James’ Miami Heat lost the Game 5 matchup, 93-90. He was held to a career playoff low of 7 points — which has us thinking this might not be the last time James gets an unwanted puff of air directed at his ear.
The on-court interlude set off a wave of animated GIF videos and comments online, with some people discussing the ploy — and others using it to get a new meme going, creating scenes that showed Stephenson blowing on everything from birthday candles to Kate Winslet’s hair.
A version by SBNation set the video to the Ginuwine song “Pony.” One image from the clip was digitally altered to show Stephenson blowing on a video game cartridge.
While James and Stephenson didn’t want to talk about the ploy, others spoke out.
“Buffoonery,” Heat guard Ray Allen said.
“It’s Lance being Lance,” said the Pacers’ Paul George, who scored 37 points last night. “I hope his breath wasn’t too bad for LeBron.”
After the game, George wasn’t watching clips of his late shots that helped the Pacers win. As ESPN reports, “he was watching slow-motion replays of Stephenson’s latest maneuver aimed at annoying James.”