DeShawn Stevenson wasn’t afraid to be the first player to publicly call out LeBron James, so there is little stopping him from calling out anyone else.
The union disbanded last week by filing a disclaimer of interest and opened the way for an antitrust lawsuit against the league. Stevenson questions Hunter’s leadership of the players since the NBA lockout began 145 days ago.
“I felt like we should have decertified in July,” Stevenson told Yahoo! Sports NBA writer Marc J. Spears at Drew Gooden’s Make-A-Wish charity game in Daly City, Calif. “I feel like Billy Hunter is doing a horrible job because basically now [the owners] know our hand. The media knows our hand. The owners know our hand.”
Stevenson believes that the players have already conceded in negotiations and were tardy in their pursuit to challenge the owners through the courts. “For me, personally, I don’t think there will be a season,” Stevenson said. “Right now there is just a lot of bad blood and [the owners] keep putting offers out that we’re rejecting. So we’re not going anywhere.”
Stevenson joins another former Wizard, Jerry Stackhouse, in questioning the strategy of the union. Stackhouse told ESPN’s Jim Rome a few weeks ago that he wasn’t comfortable with Derek Fisher negotiating the collective bargaining agreement and felt that the union needed to change its approach.
The NBA has already canceled the first six weeks of the season and its cherished Christmas Day games are in jeopardy of being eliminated soon, with the lawyers for the players and the league still refusing to speak with each other. Caron Butler, Stevenson’s teammate in Washington and Dallas, is one of the plaintiffs in the amended antitrust lawsuit filed on Monday in Minnesota.
Stevenson famously called James “overrated” back in 2008 and taunted him some more when the Dallas Mavericks prevailed over James and the Miami Heat during the NBA Finals. When James struggled in the fourth quarter of Game 4, Stevenson said James had “checked out.” And the day after the series, Stevenson wore a T-shirt that read, “Hey LeBron! How’s my Dirk taste?”
But as the Yahoo! story points out, Stevenson and Mavericks have yet to receive their championship rings because the 2011-12 season has been delayed – if it will be played at all.