Last July, LeBron James threw himself a television show to celebrate his leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Miami Heat. A lot of people hated him before that, but after that one-hour special, it was a new level of hate, unseen since the height of Kobe Bryant’s powers. The combination of an oft-arrogant player mixed with a self-indulgent television special was the perfect storm for some next level hatred maneuvers.

And LeBron is sorry about that. Seriously. He just had to do it. From ESPN’s Brian Windhorst:

“I knew deep down in my heart, as much as I loved my teammates back in Cleveland and as much as I loved home, I knew it couldn’t do it by myself against that team,” James said.

“The way it panned out with all the friends and family and the fans back home, I apologize for the way it happened. I knew this opportunity was once in a lifetime. To be able to come down here and pair with two guys and this organization — in order for me to move on with my career, that team that we just defeated, we had to go through them.”

This is kind of like a big deal. It’s the first time since “The Decision” that LeBron’s publicly apologized for what happened, which isn’t really something that needs to be done but is still pretty cool. One of the many things we ask of LeBron is to realize the effect that his actions have on others, and that’s what he’s doing.

“The Decision” rubbed a lot of people the wrong way, but apologizing for it is something that’s kind of weird to me since he obviously thought it was a good idea and is only saying he’s sorry for it now because he realizes people hated it. But that’s OK. He’s not known for empathizing and that’s exactly what he’s doing, which is nice. There’s probably a better word for it, but “nice” works. It won’t sooth all the problems that people have with LeBron, but if they can get this little glimpse in to LeBron’s thinking behind everything, it will help. High five on this one, LeBron.

Not to mention, after “The Decision” the prescription for getting people back on LeBron’s side was some dominant performances coupled with humility. You got both of those from him last night, which could mean that this is a turning point. There will always be people who hate LeBron, but if he keeps doing this — being humble and being awesome — it’s going to be a lot harder.