LeBron James proved once and for all Wednesday that the recently-ended NBA lockout dragged on far too long, staging an exhibition flag football game against Kevin Durant.
Both James and Durant have revealed a bit of a football jones during the lockout. James reportedly joined an impromptu flag football game in Central Park in New York a few months ago. Durant served as a ringer on an Oklahoma State intramural flag football team last month after being invited to play with the team via Twitter.
The two heard about each other's interest in football, and eventually challenged each other to Wednesday's game. For those interested, LeBron's team beat Durant's team in a shootout, 70-63. He intercepted three passes on defense, including the game-sealing pick moments after his team scored a go-ahead touchdown.
The game was not open to the public, but was broadcast on the Internet. James and Durant took the game seriously enough to hold multiple practices in preparation and create playbooks.
The two even hired a chain gang and referees for the game.
It was the latest bit of football activity for James, who played tight end in high school. He participated in football practice at his former high school, Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary, in early October. A week after that, he jokingly inquired about signing on to an NFL team as a free agent on Twitter.
While the sight of James and Durant on the football field was a fun novelty, surely Heat and Thunder fans are happy the two will be back in the gym working on basketball starting Thursday. Had either player injured himself on Wednesday night, he would have likely drew much criticism for risking injury in a silly exhibition.
On Tuesday, James said he's thankful the NBA is set to return soon and "the fans can get back to watching the game that they love."
His fans will also be happy James won't have time for any other stunts that expose him to needless injury risk.