In a post on social media Thursday, James defended his actions in the closing minutes of the game. The 15-time All-Star stood on the court in socks while cheering on his teammates late in the contest, which led to disapproving comments from the Jazz announcers.
James, who already exited the game and gave his shoes to kids in attendance, came off the bench area and onto the corner of the court after teammate Kyle Kuzma blocked two shot attempts by Jazz center Tony Bradley with 2:35 left and the Lakers holding a 116-96 lead.
In his excitement, James hopped up and down the baseline while waving a towel. As the Lakers headed the other way, he continued to move toward the basket.
The Jazz announcers took offense to James' celebration, saying "that's some disrespect right there." James said their comments were filled with "negativity, bad energy, hate" in his Instagram post.
"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. "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!"
James exited the game with 7:46 remaining and the Lakers leading 105-83. He finished with 20 points, 12 assists and four rebounds in the 121-96 victory.