PHOENIX — (AP) — Even NBA star LeBron James welcomed the chance to laugh at Michigan State’s college football sign-stealing scandal.
The 19-time All-Star took a lighthearted jab at the Wolverines and head coach Jim Harbaugh following the Los Angeles Lakers’ victory over the Phoenix Suns on Friday night.
James grew up in Ohio, home to Michigan’s biggest rival: Ohio State. He said the Lakers were able to read some of Suns coach Frank Vogel’s signals from the sideline because the team is familiar with him. Vogel coached the Lakers and led them to the 2020 championship at the NBA’s Florida campus.
The Big Ten on Friday banned Harbaugh from coaching Michigan State’s remaining three regular-season games, escalating an unusual confrontation with college football’s winningest program for stealing signs. Shocked the sport.
“The best thing tonight is we were able to get those signals and we were still able to play on Sunday,” James said of his team’s next game. “We’re not going to get suspended like that team up north.”
The discipline was announced less than 24 hours before tipoff against No. 9 Penn State. The second-ranked Wolverines (9-0) have a chance to win their third straight Big Ten title and the school’s first national title since 1997.
AP college football writer Ralph D. Russo contributed to this report.
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