Why did LeBron James give a shoutout to Jeff Zillgitt ahead of NBA All Star game? Find out heartwarming reason

Why did LeBron James give a shoutout to Jeff Zillgitt ahead of the NBA All-Star Game? Find out the heartwarming reason behind it! Read more

Updated on Feb 20, 2024  |  11:38 AM IST |  90K
Image Courtesy: Twitter
Image Courtesy: Twitter

Despite his restricted playing time due to an ankle injury, LeBron James dominated the NBA All-Star weekend in Indiana, but not on the court. 

There were whispers about his career plans, and it was his first chance to respond to rumors that the Golden State Warriors had tried to trade for him at this year's deadline. Additionally, James shared a touching moment with a journalist.

In an emotional conclusion to the Los Angeles Lakers star's pre-game press conference, Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today, who has been covering the NBA since 1995, asked the last question. James warmly recognized Zillgitt, expressing his genuine joy at having him there.


"Firstly, it's ******* fantastic to see you," James said. "Jeff, it's amazing to see you. I love this. And the fact that you got the final question is even better. You tried to hide in the back, and I love that too. I love you, man. Wow, it's amazing to see you."

James was overwhelmed, struggling to communicate his joy at Zillgitt's presence in Indiana. After their heartfelt pre-game exchange, 

James addressed Zillgitt's question, offering a thoughtful analysis of the recent increase in high-scoring games and providing a considered response to his query.

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We know that interactions between athletes and reporters can be delicate. Although the relationship can sometimes be contentious, there is usually mutual respect.

Instances like these, where LeBron celebrates a journalist's comeback, rise above the standard interview format. These uniquely human moments go beyond the boundaries of a professional relationship amidst all the tension.

ALSO READ: Report: NBA Players Privately Discussed Wanting To Get Paid for All-Star Game

How did LeBron James show his support for Jeff Zillgitt during a difficult time?

Jeff Zillgitt, an experienced NBA reporter, has been providing coverage of the league for USA Today since 2008. He continually kept pace alongside LeBron James as James made his iconic rise to the top. 

In 2015, information unfolded about Jeff's fight against cancer. Who was one of the first to wish him well in his recovery? 


It was LeBron James, "The L-Train", himself! James conveyed his good wishes to Jeff on Twitter, saying, "Wishing JZ-one of the good dudes I work with a safe and healthy recovery from surgery. See you at camp Champ!"

In the preceding year, James had extended his wishes to Zillgitt after his successful battle against cancer, a circumstance that brought special meaning to their reunion. 

According to reports, Zillgitt had undergone surgery to treat his cancer just the previous year, and among those who wished him well was the superstar of the LA Lakers. Zillgitt, a veteran in NBA reporting, has been a part of the industry since 1995.

Zillgitt was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2015, however, it is still not clear whether his surgery was associated with it. Zillgitt also fought off multiple liver metastases that developed five years after his initial diagnosis.

Despite his struggles, what's significant is his return to work, a moment that brought joy to one of the biggest names in the NBA, as they were glad to see him back.

ASO READ: Watch: LeBron James gets Nikola Jokic and Luka Doncic to laugh in viral clip from 2024 NBA All-Star Game

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About The Author

Rakesh Mehra is a passionate sports content writer at Pinkvilla, dedicated to bringing the thrill of the game to

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Credits: Twitter ( now X)
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