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April 8, 2009 12:30 PM

LeBron Gets Some Favorable Calls From NBA Refs

I hope you're sitting down for this one: LeBron James may be receiving preferential treatment from referees. Shocking, I know.

Something that has been assumed for some time, and something that you've probably noticed while sitting on your coach, has now been given some proof thanks to Sam Smith, columnist for the Chicago Bulls official team website, Bulls.com.

Smith claims that James is "being called for fewer fouls than perhaps any top perimeter player in the history of the game," and goes so far as to say that LeBron "may well be the most protected star we've ever seen."

James is averaging 1.72 fouls per game in an average of 37.9 minutes per game. James hasn't even been in foul trouble one game this season. He never has had more than four fouls called on him in a game, and since March 1 is being called for fewer than 1.3 fouls per game.

In 12 of the 20 games since then, James has been called for one or zero fouls in a game. James had a stretch of five straight games to conclude March averaging 36.8 minutes per game without being called for one foul. Not one in five games! In the last nine games, James has been called for three personal fouls. It's really amazing given the involvement James has in the action of the game.

"It's impossible," said one team executive.

Smith points out that today's NBA has much more drive-and-kick offense, meaning perimeter players are guarding 3-point shots more often, resulting in less fouls. But still, LeBron's season average of 1.72 fouls/game is less than other superstars Kobe Bryant (2.3) and Dwyane Wade (2.2).

It would appear "LeBron Rules" are the new "Jordan Rules."

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