“Let me calculate my thoughts real fast before I say (what I want to say),” James said. “I believe and I know that a lot of my fouls are not basketball plays. First of all, Kirk Hinrich in the first quarter basically grabbed me with two hands and brought me to the ground. The last one, Taj Gibson was able to collar me around my shoulder and bring me to the ground. Those are not defensive … those are not basketball plays.” … “It’s been happening all year, and I’ve been able to keep my cool and try to tell Spo, ‘Let’s not worry about it too much.’ But it is getting to me a little bit because every time I try to defend myself, I got to face the consequences of a flagrant for me or a technical foul, whatever the case may be,” James said. “It’s tough. It’s tough. It’s very tough, and I’m not sitting here crying about anything because I play the game at a high level. I play with a lot of aggression, and I understand that some of the plays are on the borderline of a basketball play or not, but sometimes you just got to … I don’t know. It’s frustrating.”
After “The Decision” and before Game 6 of the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals, there was no bigger LeBron James hater on the face of the planet than the man typing this article. In fact if I ever meet LeBron again and he just slugs me in the face I wont even be mad. It would be completely deserved from the daily trolling I used to exercise in his at mentions on Twitter. That’s right, I wasn’t just running my mouth to my friends or cursing at the television any time he was playing. It was directly in his face on a daily basis for almost two years. Just running my mouth. Never using those whack fourth quarter jokes that everyone used, either. Just unnecessary hate right in his grillmix 24/7, 365. Never racist, never homophobic, sometimes Delonte West-centric. But after Game 6 on the Boston Garden parquet, there was no reason for it. LeBron went from the ultimate choker to the player he was destined to be all in the biggest game of his life. (Side note: LeBron James has never and WILL never play in a bigger game than Game 6 of those ECF.)
Because in that night we saw a player who had battled with his own identity his entire career finally figure it out over the course of 48 minutes. We saw a player who had routinely walked back into the visiting locker room of the Garden with his head hung and his jersey strewn on the floor after yet another devastating loss at the hands of the older, more physical, less talented Celtics. And he would have walked off of the court in the same fashion in ’12 had LeBron not flipped the switch and stopped giving a ****. The killer look in his eyes was reminiscent of the zero ***** attitude of Kobe Bryant, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, and, yes, even Michael Jordan. You cannot be great in the NBA – or any sport for that matter – if you want everyone to like you. That’s not how it works. LeBron figured that out in what could’ve been the last game of his ninth professional season. No ********. No excuses. No mercy. Just win. And that attitude continued from the tip off of Game 6 all the way until game 28 of “the streak.”
That’s where old habits reemerged. I mean, look at the quotes above. The guy loses ONE game for the first time since ‘Nam and the excuses were flowing like a 13-year old girl’s first bout with her period. Look man, the Bulls beat you. Physically and on the scoreboard. You lost to the more motivated team. Chris Bosh got dunked on. Dwyane Wade faked several injuries. YOU even faked a few injuries throughout the course of the game. For what? Because you were going to lose a meaningless regular season game? This wasn’t Game 7 of the NBA Finals. This was a regular season game against the Chicago Bulls IN Chicago IN March with literally nothing on the line other than a meaningless streak. Do players want accolades, records, and belt notches for their Hall of Fame résumés? Of course. Should they cry and whine and blame everyone in their immediate vicinity when they can’t get it done? Of course not.
Let me ask you a legitimate question, Bron: does this look like a foul?
Oh, it does? Funny. I don’t seem to remember Kevin Durant ******** and moaning after he was robbed of a pivotal game in the NBA Finals after this mauling. Sure, Durant was upset and thought there should have been a foul called on this play. But he didn’t blame the loss on this singular play. When he absolutely should have. Fact of the matter remains, the NBA is a superstar league. *pauses for shock and awe* The NBA would be NOTHING in 2013 without LeBron James. It would be Kevin Durant with no rival. That’s no fun. Every sport needs a bad guy and LeBron is the perfect villain. Why? Because he’s that good. What’s his flaw? Jump shot? Got it. Defense? Got that. Assists? More dimes than your local Bank of America branch. Strength?
LeBron James is the strongest player I’ve ever seen in my life. Any position. Shaq will forever be the single most dominant force I’ve ever witnessed but compared to Bron’s 6’9″ frame, the Diesel doesn’t have anything on LBJ. Yet here he is at the tail end of yet another MVP season complaining that KIRK HINRICH was fouling him too hard……
Yeah it looks like you really got the worst of that exchange, Bron Bron. I mean for Christ sakes, you’re karate chopping his man handle! I need more honest answers LeBron: how many calls in your favor do you need? Earlier this season you played 254 consecutive minutes without being called for a SINGLE foul. Not a one. That’s 5.3 full games sans foul. Not a single whistle blown against you. NOT A ONE. You’re currently sixth in the NBA in free throw attempts. Your teammate Dwyane Wade is eighth. The Heat get more whistles in their favor than anyone and it’s not even close. Again, it’s a superstar league. It’s to be expected. I’m not mad at it. Them’s the brakes. But when the whistles don’t come – as RARE of an occurrence as that may be – don’t sit there and ***** like you’re owed something. Because you’re not. Earn it. Earn the win. Earn the calls. Play through it. Because if you’re going to let the refs get in your head, you’re going to let the Celtics back into your head. You’re going to let the Thunder get in your head. It’s a slippery slope. Apologize and go back to playing as you were prior to the Bulls game. No ********. No excuses.
Because as I eluded to before, the Heat get more calls than anyone else in the League. Which is semi-shocking considering the dirtiest player in the entire Association suits up and starts for El Heat. But since DWade is a superstar, no one will ever admit to it. People want to pretend that Metta World Peace still holds that title. Or that Kevin Garnett is somehow the dirtiest player in the NBA. Reggie Evans? We’re not talking about flopping here. It’s really no contest. Whether Wade is gauging eyes or intentionally dislocating elbows, he’s numero uno on this list. But God forbid anyone bring it up. Because while mainstream media is too busy playing their violins in mourning of the Heat’s streak ending based on unfair officiating, those with functioning eyeballs realize what this really is: a paltry amount of karma. And let me be the first to tell you, if Wade doesn’t clean his act up someone is going to take him out. It will be blatantly intentional and significantly more damaging than the elbow LBJ threw in Carlos Boozer’s throat. And most importantly, it will be deserved. (Side note: rather interesting Wade didn’t start acting tough towards Rajon Rondo until Kendrick Perkins was gone… Just some food for thought.)
So LeBron, don’t revert back to your old ways. I JUST started liking you again for the first time since 2010. Remember that Wade needs you, you don’t need him. It’s your team. It’s your League. It’s your legacy at stake. Own it. Earn it. Win it. Don’t follow the coward below like you did in ’11 against the Mavericks when you mocked Dirk Nowitzki for being sick. Forget what happened after that? You caught a big fat L. And it was deserved. Play your game and shut up, bruh. Everything else will fall in line.