If you had a mental lapse Wednesday night at the conclusion of Game 5 between the Celtics and Heat, you might have thought the NBA season was over. When Miami beat Boston and advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals, they celebrated as though they have nothing left to accomplish. Some of the emotion we witnessed stemmed from the fact that the Heat have become the most hated team in professional sports. Most of it came as a result of LeBron James finally proving he can beat the Celtics.
During his tenure with the Cleveland Cavaliers, LeBron had developed a reputation as a choker. That reputation was owed in large part to the Celtics Big 3 and their swarming defense, which always seemed to baffle James at critical moments in the playoffs. After the 97-87 win in which LeBron dominated the final minute of play Wednesday night, he appeared happier than we have ever seen him in his career. Heck, he even hugged his step father.
“I knew I had to go through Boston at some point,” James said as told by CBSSports.com. “I went through a lot signing to be here and the way it panned out. I apologize for the way it happened, but I knew that this opportunity was once in a lifetime.”
Finally. LeBron is not apologizing for leaving Cleveland, and he shouldn’t. He put himself in a situation that he thought was best for his career. That’s why players sign contracts for X amount of years. However, he had to at least acknowledge the disaster that was “The Decision.” By apologizing for “the way it happened,” LeBron is owning the fact that he embarrassed himself and the fans of Cleveland. The artist once known as King James still has a long way to go in order to prove he is a winner and — perhaps more importantly — show us he cares about his public perception. Uttering the phrase “I apologize” is certainly a step in the right direction.
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