No matter how much you dislike him, what he does or what he says, you have to give LeBron James one thing — he isn’t shying away from the justified criticism he’s received for his “personal problems” rant following Game 6.

From ESPN:

“Basically I was saying at the end of the day this season is over and — with all hatred — everyone else has to move on with their lives, good or bad. I do too,” James said.

“It wasn’t saying I’m superior or better than anyone else, any man or woman on this planet, I’m not. I would never ever look at myself bigger than anyone who watched our game. It may have come off wrong but that wasn’t my intent.”

That is great, and I’d say it makes sense. When you try and figure out what LeBron could have possibly been trying to say with his postgame comments, the only possible explanation is that he totally butchered some sort of “life goes on” platitude while being angry at 11 months of questions about how many people don’t like him.

Given those circumstances, it’s understandable that he’d say something so completely tone deaf. I’m sure he still feels a lot of what he said in the first place, but at least he realizes that he misspoke and is trying to smooth things over. If we’re going to slam him when he does something stupid, we’ve got to high-five him when he does something right.

Like, for instance, his continued realization that he didn’t do much in the Finals.

“I put a lot of pressure on myself not to let my teammates down, maybe to a fault at times,” James said. “I didn’t play up to my own standards. Did that cost us the Finals? I don’t know. I’m not satisfied with my performance.”

Sure, it doesn’t take much to recognize that LeBron’s Finals statistics were far below his normal output, but to see him owning up to being disappointed in himself is a good thing. He’s not always the most humble guy in the world, so to see that this Finals loss might be affecting him is encouraging, especially for Heat fans.

Maybe losing another Finals is the best thing that could happen to LeBron. Maybe being exposed on the NBA’s biggest stage is what he needs to appreciate what it takes to become a champion. That seems to have been the case with Dirk Nowitzki, so it might work with LeBron. At the very least, it seems like he might be learning how far a little bit of humility goes.

Comments (16)

  1. when someone shows you who they really are, believe them the first time.

  2. I normally love your stuff Trey, but pardon me if I don’t believe a word he says. His PR team realized what he said and finally got around to him to apologize for it. But he meant what he said in the first place. That kind of sentiment is one that he’s expressed several times in action and in words. “I’m better than you are.” He’s just trying to make sure his “brand” isn’t tarnished. This kind of sounds more like a Bron fan who wants to believe everything he says and not hold him accountable. The kind of fan he wants.

  3. How about any sense of emotion concerning the actual loss itself. It just seems like he doesn’t really care. I mean isn’t that the issue here?

  4. Matt — You make good points, most of which I agree with. I’m just saying, he’s at least trying to say the right things. That’s not usually the case with LBJ.

    Walkerp — That is a whole separate issue that will take years to figure out.

  5. Not only is he so narcissistic that he would become the “hater” that he claims doesn’t bother him, he’s such a coward that he can’t even stand behind he real feelings when he realizes this might hurt his Q score. He didn’t admit he did anything wrong…. his words were “misinterpreted”.

  6. This is exactly what I wanted to hear. It won’t change anything about his performance or his legacy as a basketball player (thus far) but it certainly helps to dispell the relatively tin-eared narrative that LBJ is a black-hat bad guy.

    He’s not. In fact, one could argue that he’s “not that” to a fault. He desperately wants to be liked. Pressure and negative reaction gets to him. This is a flaw as a player, but a universally humanizing trait as a human being. He’s a good guy with good intentions.

    I’d guess that there have been or will be a few moments where the fragile LeBron James quietly wishes that he hadn’t been blessed with maybe the most impressive body and facility of any athlete, ever. With great power comes great responsability. He can selectively abdicate that responsability (a la Shaq), squander it (a la Vince Carter) or he can embrace it like Jordan or Kobe have (though i’d argue that neither Jordan nor Kobe were pure athletic specimins anywhere close to LeBron.

    Come to think of it, LeBron’s arc is not unlike that of Spider Man’s (if Jordan/Kobe follow the “Batman” model and Shaq/Howard the “Superman” model, why not Spiderman?). At the risk of paraphrasing Bill Simmons (yuck), we WILL root for LeBron James again some day. Not today, and probably not next year, but America loves redemption.

  7. Wanting to be loved doesn’t make you a good guy. It makes you an egocentristic guy, which isn’t cool.
    He sure is human, but not all humans are lovable.

    I personnally even prefer a guy who wants to be hated, a la Reggie Miller (although I kinda dislike him too).

  8. He needs to hire a better PR staff. Hiring his friends was a heart move, needs to use his brain to make decisions. Everything he has done/said since LeDecision has been downright stupid.

  9. I initially perceived his comments like he explains them here. All he said was at some point people have to get back to their lives and he’ll continue living his life the way it is. Not ‘I’m LeBron you peasants! Bring me water for my bath!’ Plus, how can people who wish misery upon him complain when he says, ‘Well I think your lives suck too’?

  10. I never said he was a “good guy”. I have no idea. Personally, I hypothesize that he’s probably kind of a dick, and yes, a megalomaniac.

    I also prefer somebody who either couldn’t care less about public opinion, or who craves the black-hat. Kobe Bryant was truly set free once he stopped caring (really after the Eagle, Colorado case.) He had one moment of total exposure and vulnerability. Cried his eyes out on national television, and then had all his endorsement deals yanked from under him. By the time it was all over, he had been reborn as the remorseless, coldblooded motherf*cker we know today. Half the country hates him and he couldn’t care less. It fits him much better than trying to be a guy selling happy meals to kids.

    LeBron isn’t a good guy, necessarily- he’s human. He’s naturally vulnerable, self-conscious, overly self aware and anxious. He’s much more relatable than a Jordan, a Kobe, a Reggie or a Ginobli or even lesser players who display otherwordly focus.

  11. Wait, yes, I guess I originally did say he was a “good guy”. Sorry about that. But I concede that he may not be. He’s just a tragically flawed human being, like the rest of us. The carpet does not match the drapes, as it were- meaning in this case that his mental facility does not match his physical gifts.

    We pay these guys hundreds of millions of dollars, however, because they’re NOT like us. At the end of the day, though, LeBron still has the unteachable advantage of 6’8″, 250 lbs of coiled muscle. Mentality is fluid. The great reality show of the next five years will be if he can finally acquire the mental edge he needs and live up to his once-in-a-generation potential.

    In the meantime, though, people are going to hate him and, not unjustifiably, call him a fraud. ‘Cause that’s what he is right now. He is not as advertised. Those that bought into him have been duped. He can undo this, but it’s going to take a lot. I look forward to watching.

  12. This is correct: “He needs to hire a better PR staff. Hiring his friends was a heart move, needs to use his brain to make decisions.”

  13. I am a Lebron fan. I have always been a Lebron fan as I find it impossible to hate a player with this much talent, but what really bugs me, and this goes for all sports really is that people seem to not just hate Lebron the player (Which is fine) but they also seem to hate Lebron as a person which is ridiculous. How can any of us actually hate Lebron as a person when probably none of us have had the opportunity to actually talk with him one on one? Hating him as a player is perfectly fine because you can hate the way an athlete plays the game, or whatever. But to hate athletes off the court/field is just stupid, as we do not know them personally once the game is over. And once the final buzzer goes the hatred should subside until that athlete plays again.

  14. [...] replica rings Posted by Trey Kerby under Miami Heat, Random on Jun 15, 2011 Maybe LeBron James is learning some humility. Maybe he’ll come through a second NBA Finals loss as a better player, if not a better [...]

  15. It’s highly unlikely many ‘nobodies’ will ever get the chance to meet him one on one and judge his personality from that. LeBron is such a huge public figure, an icon and a role model for many children, teens and young adults all over the world and we’re left to perceive him on how he conducts and portrays himself in the media/press conferences. Having an exorbitant amount of talent shouldn’t pardon someone from conducting themselves in a respectful and professional manner.

  16. [...] under Miami Heat on Jun 22, 2011 LeBron James played poorly in the Finals and everybody knows it. He knows it, we know it, other players know it, people on television know it, newspaper guys know it, Kevin [...]

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