LeBron James' Reaction to 'Squid Game' Ending Did Not Sit Well With Creator Hwang Dong-hyuk

Squid Game writer/director Hwang Dong-hyuk has fired back at LeBron James' criticism of the show's ending, retorting: "Have you seen Space Jam 2?" Ouch.

The James-starring Space Jam movie was panned by critics on its release in July. It currently has a 26 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 4.4 out of 10 score on IMDb.

The basketball legend was overheard discussing Hwang's record-breaking K-drama with his Los Angeles Lakers teammate Anthony Davis, during a recent press conference.

In a video filmed by Kyle Goon, a reporter for the Southern California News Group, James says: "Yeah, I didn't like the ending though … get on the f****** flight and go see your daughter bro … what are you doing?"

Goon shared the clip on October 13, adding the comment: "LeBron and AD discuss their thoughts on Squid Game and I briefly lose my professionalism." The video has been watched more than 1.8 million times.

In the final scene of the Netflix series about a deadly survival competition, Seong Gi-hun (played by Korean actor Lee Jung-jae) is about to board a plane to visit his daughter.

After a cryptic phone call with the organizer of the contest, however, Gi-hun walks away from the plane.

The open-ended finale points heavily towards a second season, which could show Gi-hun attempting to put an end to the fatal games once and for all.

Asked about James' comment in an interview with the Guardian published on Tuesday, the Squid Game creator laughed and asked: "Have you seen Space Jam 2?"

He added: "LeBron James is cool and can say what he wants. I respect that. I'm very thankful he watched the whole series. But I wouldn't change my ending. That's my ending.

"If he has his own ending that would satisfy him, maybe he could make his own sequel. I'll check it out and maybe send him a message saying, 'I liked your whole show, except the ending.'"

Hwang's sassy response has won praise on Twitter, although some commenters agreed with James.

User @CrispsCold tweeted: "Lmaooo savage. Also, Lebron is in no position to criticize after that garbage space jam sequel." The post has been liked more than 1,000 times.

Another user, @antoiinee_ben, wrote: "The man worked sooo hard during so many years to have LeBron James, who clearly didn't understand the show, saying: 'The end is shit, 456 should have taken the plane and should have use the money.'"

Social media user @drevano_ tweeted: "LeBron prob watched it dubbed"—implying the full depth of the final episode may have been lost in translation.

Others agreed with James, including @christi58057269 who wrote: "[I don't know] why he has the nerve to call out lebron when almost every body agrees that ending was shit. A bit insecure."

User @C_Matthews94 tweeted: "I mean…[James] was right though. Should have got on the plane!"

Criticisms of the ending—from NBA stars or otherwise— have certainly not put a dent in the runaway success of the Netflix drama, which has become the streamer's biggest original show.

Netflix told Newsweek on October 13 that the series had been viewed by at least 111 million subscribers, making it the platform's "biggest ever series at launch." It has now been viewed by at least 142 million households.

In the U.S., Squid Game is the first Korean series to bag the Netflix No 1 spot. The show held the top ranking for at least 21 consecutive days, setting a record for non-English language series, the streamer said.

Hwang and Squid Game cast members including Wi Ha-jun have said they'd love to see a second season. Many fans are also crying out for answers to several burning questions that remain following its finale.

Hwang told CNN earlier this month: "There's nothing confirmed at the moment [for Season 2], but so many people are enthusiastic that I'm really contemplating it."

Hwang Dong-hyuk and LeBron James.
"Squid Game" creator Hwang Dong-hyuk and NBA star LeBron James. Netflix and Getty Images