LeBron James defends himself after receiving criticism for shoeless celebration

LeBron James defended himself Thursday and decried the criticism he received for celebrating his Los Angeles Lakers teammates during their game against the Utah Jazz with his sneakers off.

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James had given his shoes to Lakers fans before he was seen on the sidelines celebrating the Lakers’ defensive prowess in the latter stages of their blowout win Wednesday night. Jazz announcers took offense to James’ antics, saying “That’s some disrespect right there.”

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The Lakers superstar scored 20 points in the game. He took to Instagram to hit back at the negative comments.

“Imagine doing your job at the highest level to where you're not needed anymore, giving your shoes to a lil girl and boy who you inspire and hoped you made proud that night, then cheering on your teammates cause you love seeing them succeed more than yourself only to be criticized while doing it,” James wrote.

LEBRON JAMES SLAMMED AS DISRESPECTFUL AFTER STEPPING ONTO COURT DURING GAME WITHOUT SNEAKERS

“People it's the world we live in and you can't let it ever stop you from your purpose in life. Negativity, bad energy, hate, envy, etc etc will try to bring you down throughout your journey and it's up to you on how you handle it. I handle it by simply saying ‘Thank You’ with a [smile] on my face and continue to push forward while doing it!”

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Los Angeles won the game, 121-96, and improved to 19-3 on the season.