Yahoo Sports wildly mispresented an interaction between LeBron James and Cooper Flagg. Screen grab: Yahoo

As Team USA’s men’s basketball team prepares for the upcoming Summer Olympics, one of the more fun subplots has been the presence of Cooper Flagg. The presumptive No. 1 pick of the 2025 NBA Draft is a part of the group of players helping Team USA get ready for its upcoming trip to Paris. That has allowed the 17-year-old to share the court in Las Vegas with some of the NBA’s biggest stars, including LeBron James.

While all indications thus far are that Flagg’s experience at Team USA’s training camp has been nothing short of positive, one outlet curiously did its best to suggest otherwise.

Following a practice session on Monday, Yahoo Sports shared a video showing Flagg interacting with James along with the caption “LeBron left Cooper Flagg hanging,” complete with a crying laughing facing emoji for emphasis.


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The only problem? Nothing in the video posted indicates that James left Flagg hanging. The video very clearly shows James seeking Flagg out and extending his hand for a high five, with the Duke recruit reciprocating by sticking his left hand behind his back as a trainer worked on his right arm.

James and Flagg didn’t ultimately connect on a high five, with the four-time NBA MVP patting the top prospect on his lower back/hip. Was the exchange slightly awkward? Perhaps. But also only because one of Flagg’s hands was restricted by a trainer and the other was holding a towel. But again, the video clearly shows James seeking Flagg out, extending his hand first and doing absolutely nothing that would indicate he was leaving the Maine native “hanging.”

Many in the comments section of Yahoo Sports’ Instagram post were quick to point out the apparent misrepresentation, as was the case on X, where the outlet shared the video with the caption “Cooper Flagg thought he was getting a handshake from LeBron.”

Perhaps this is naïve, but it’s hard to imagine Yahoo would blatantly mispresent a video in hopes of garnering more attention on social media. Conversely, it’s difficult to understand how the person who captioned the video could have misinterpreted the interaction as poorly as they did.

The thing is, if Yahoo was aiming to boost engagement, the idea of James acknowledging an up-and-coming star player who’s less than half his age should have been enough. But for whatever reason, the outlet opted for a more cynical approach — even though it was quickly refuted by anyone who took the time to watch the video.

[Yahoo Sports on Instagram]

About Ben Axelrod

Ben Axelrod is a veteran of the sports media landscape, having most recently worked for NBC's Cleveland affiliate, WKYC. Prior to his time in Cleveland, he covered Ohio State football and the Big Ten for outlets including Cox Media Group, Bleacher Report, Scout and Rivals.