That’s what LeBron James said after winning his first NBA title on Thursday night. The words weren’t politically correct, but they were fitting.
Few players in the history or professional sports have taken the kind of beating from the media and fans like LeBron James has. He allowed the media’s criticism to affect his style of play last year, and even admitted before Game 5 of the NBA Finals that he was “immature” last season.
He went even further in his interview after winning his first NBA title on Thursday, admitting that his game changed because he was out to prove his critics wrong.
“I just went back to the basics,” LeBron said. “I knew what got me to this point, and that was hard work and dedication. I never had to prove anything to anyone. In my first seven years, I just went out and let the game take care of itself. And last year, I tried to prove something to everybody.
“I played with a lot of hate, and that’s not the way I play the game of basketball. I play with a lot of love, and a lot of passion, and that’s what I got back to this year.”
James recorded a triple-double in Game 5, won Finals MVP, and had a brilliant postseason from the first series to the last. Maybe losing last year helped shape him and led him to win his first NBA title.
Now that he’s won one, maybe he won’t look back.