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.
“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.