Tuesday, December 6th, 2011 at 1:18 pm  |  54 responses

Video: LeBron’s SportsCenter Conversation

LBJ discusses the ’11 NBA Finals and the haters.

Recently, LeBron James sat down with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols to talk about the NBA Finals and how he’s adjusting to his new villain status. Among the notable moments from the SportsCenter conversation: The King admits that he “would probably change a lot” of the way he made his departure from Cleveland (including broadcasting “The Decision”) and compares losing to the Mavericks to his father-less childhood.

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  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    just a kid

  • BlackStar

    @ nbk – I’m with you. If you’re playing ball on the highest level, and your mind is on winning a ring, I don’t care how much people boo you … You should take it and be able to do what it takes to get that ring cause nothing else within the 48 minutes you’re on the court matters. So much talent, yet so soft …

  • tomtom

    Never thought i’d say this, but it’s time to just stop criticising and let this extraordinary talent just play. At least for just one season, because as basketball fans (never mind what team you like) we will never know what we missed out on if he doesn’t develop fully or is constantly distracted….but lakers got the chip this year so he can forget that :P .

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    I’m not calling him soft. I’m calling him a kid. Nobody reacts well the first time they become hated. A “soft” player, would not have buried Chicago and Boston the way he did. Or Detroit the way he did in 07. He may not be a “killer” like Kobe or Jordan, but he isn’t soft.


    He reminds me of Shazam 100%. (My comic book heads will get the reference) lol

  • http://www.nba.com Gman

    kids are taught to be soft these days lol sooo

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    Exactly. It’s a shock to ones system when you go from being beloved to being so-hated, no one reacts well.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Come now people … So why didn’t the hate shock his system when he was killing Chicago and Boston? Then he gets to the Finals and all of a sudden the hate is too much for him and he can’t score in multiple 4th quarters due to it? That’s trash y’all … He’s a very talented player, but let’s call a spade, a spade. Homie isn’t the most mentally strong player and he needs to work on that ASAP.

  • BlackStar

    The comment at “Dec.6 at 1:54 pm” was from me, not nbk. I’d hate for people to think he was arguing with himself. Lol …

  • slamfan4life

    want to see him talk to skip…so bad…

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    He struggled in the Finals (scoring wise), it had nothing to do with lack of mental toughness or being soft.

  • tomtom

    What brings you to that clinical conclusion Jaytaylor21? Or is it just a opinion disguised as a fact??

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    He was less aggressive in the finals. And he isn’t the most “mentally strong” that is clearly evident. But it is the finals, the level of hate that comes a guy like LeBron’s way is very enhanced at that point. Think about it like this, throughout the season there were 29 other teams, 438 other players for people to pick and choose who they hate. Than the playoffs started and people generally focused their hate on the team their city (if they are in the race) is playing against. Then teams get knocked off and it becomes more about the superstars. Until you get to the finals, and you have 28 teams of frustrated fans to focus all their hate on the last 2 left. And you realize the other team left in the Mavericks, who everyone basically felt like “deserved” a title.. Or had players who did. So now LeBron has a whole entire country of people focusing all of their basketball hate on him. In translation, that is a shock to your system, no matter how crazy the previous season and summer was.

  • fruizm

    i got a feeling that they hooked up after the interview.

  • http://nba.com GP23

    Sometimes I think the Finals was fixed. Scoring only 8 points in a Finals game.. F*ck outta here!! There has to be a reason, and this is no disrespect to the Mavs, but I just think if LeBron and the Heat REALLY wanted to win it.. they would have. Call me a nutcase all you want, but if you think ‘outside the box’ then you might agree.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    If this is true, if this is really how he feels, then Maverick Carter and them actually have been doing him a disservice. How could his friends not give him a heads up that taking the path he was taking was going to result in intense hatred? Who are they talking to?
    Maybe hooking up with Wade is a good thing because at least he now has somebody to call him out. Because clearly, his friends don’t occupy that role.

  • http://nba.com GP23

    I think the only thing LeBron regrets was making that ESPN programme ‘The Decision.’ He regrets the way he handled it. But he definately doesn’t regret taking his talents to South Beach at all. That ish was pre-meditated in late 2009.

  • T-Money

    maybe i’m seeing things that are not there but the dallas series showed me holes in his game – not his mental toughness. as talented as lebron is, when his outside shot is not falling and he can’t get all the way to the rim (marion and kidd played good team defense on him and tyson chandler was excellent in protecting the rim), he runs out of options. posting up, shoting from 10 ft-15 ft, cutting to the basket, rolling to the basket after setting screens, pounding the offensive glass (his off rebounding rate is comical, look at the numbers)… lebron doesn’t know how to do any of these things yet. and until he learns or accepts to do these things, he will always be susceptible to those stinkers. i don’t think it has anything to do with the pressure from being in the finals because the celtics did that to him in the 2nd round too. joy of the game, villain, choking… all of that is just noise or coping mechanisms to me. his failure in the finals has everything to do about his game, let’s see if he really put in work this summer. if i don’t see him posting up, working from close range and moving without the ball on dec 25, i’ll be so disappointed.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Slick Ric

    People need to stop giving this dude so much credit. talking about burrying the bulls, Chris Bosh was more responsible for the heat winning that series than lebron was. It was easy for him to close the games out in the series because it was no pressure on him unlike in the mavericks series when he was air-balling 12-15 foot shots.

  • robb

    Lebron is a big kid and an emotional guy, for him playing the game is fun, being with his teammates is fun, when people started hating on him, that must have been an incredibly difficult thing for him. He’s not a guy who doesn’t give a sh*t about everybody else like Kobe (my favorite player), he cares, that’s why he plays the way he plays, he likes to share, during the finals he couldn’t control those emotions, he didn’t know exactly what to do. Should he share the ball, find the open man? would he be too selfish if he shot the ball more? he lost himself during the finals, maybe through all this adversity he’s found himself again, maybe we’ll see the true Lebron playing in june.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    TMoney, you know and I know that he’s not going to do any of that come Dec.25. He’s going to pound the hell out of the ball before making a move. He’s going to stand there watching like a spectator without the ball. He might post up for a few possessions but as soon as he misses one down here, he avoids the post like the plague. Anyone who has seen Bron play from the beginning of his career knows that he rarely ever changes his approach to a game even when all the signs point to changes in the way he attacks defenses. The man has been playing a certain way for 8yrs now and I don’t see how he can all of a sudden become a different player.

  • http://shinefluid@aol.com yada

    must be tough being a KING. everything is scrutinized

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    One of my good homies agrees with you completely.
    He thinks that LeBron lacks the off the dribble game to be unguardable one-on-one and when his jumper abandons him, it’s a serious problem. I agree with both of you, I just think he also has confidence issues at time.
    He was drifting out there and ball watching. And he just didn’t inspire confidence at all with his whole aura. He reminded me of Dirk, who used to get tight in tough moments mainly because he would start overthinking.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    I think this year will be allot better for him and the Heat. A year removed from all the drama. A year of playing together under the belt. I think he will enjoy playing ball again this year. I see the hate dissolving away as people never really truly hated him. At least they never hated the person, it was always this image that they created that they hated. Telling themselves that LbJ is a bad guy and magnifying his flaws to bring him down more. He seems like a cool, fun dude to be around and people will come to see that again. I wish him all the luck until he plays the Lakers in the finals :)

  • http://www.slamonline.com megatron

    ill be dissapointed if miami doesn’t play at a faster pace this year

  • robb

    Lebron was Maverick’s friend but he’s more his cashing cow now, he wants him to make more money so he can make more money. They are not interested in calling him out, they want him to keep making money for everybody, short sighted I know, but that’s just how some people are.

  • rob stewart

    I don’t think he regrets the Decision. He just regrets how he looks now because of it

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    ^Same difference

  • http://www.slamonline.com James the Balla

    If he is “just a kid” and can live as a millionaire and not be, well let’s say responsible for his decisions. Then, me being 25 years old, and fighting the war in Afghanistan, if something bad was to happen would I be blamed? I am just a kid, right?

  • World

    boo hoo ni99a stop crying….

  • Cizzo

    When it’s all said and done LBJ is not the player yall want to make him out to be….and never will be…But he did seem to grow from this experience…

  • http://www.offthebackboard.wordpress.com OTB

    Interesting interview. He seems to have grown up some after the loss, and I understand what he means by the difference between playing like a villain and playing the way he normally plays, which is by having fun. Kobe was always used to being a villain, so things like being booed in ASGs in his hometown, or being booed everywhere except in LA in 2004 only strengthened his resolve. Lebron has always been liked professionally (except maybe in Washington), and I don’t doubt that he wasn’t ready to handle that much hatred. With a year under his belt, and pretty much at the prime of his career, this cat is going to ball out for this coming season. I know the Heat are likely making it out the East, I’m just hoping one of the old heads in the Western Conference, or maybe just the Thunder, have what it takes to slow them down, cause I don’t want this guy to win a ring – at least not yet.

  • Mo

    @ CIZZO – So at 26 years of age, Lebron basically can’t get any better and grow as a player?

  • T-Money

    i actually don’t care about the decision. i don’t think it hurt him that much. his ego may have been bruised a little bit buit his #1 in the nba in shoes, jerseys and overall endorsement money. maverick carter and lebron james have been very good to each other. they’re thinking outside the box and claiming percentage points instead of cash on a lot of interesting deals like the liverpool fc one. that’s not an issue to me. his joy for the game is also not an issue to me because i don’t think it affected his game at all. i was slow to come around on this but lebron just needs a pet move. he needs that one move that will always get him a decent look that he can convert at a good clip when his legs are gone and the defense is super tight. kobe has the one hard dribble, head fake, fadeaway. paul pierce has the hesitation in-n-out to set up a jumper from the right elbow. dirk has the one-legged fadeaway fromt the left block. what is lebron’s move? what’s his sweet spot? that’s what he needs to find out.

  • andxxx

    I disagree with all of ya’ll if ya’ll would look at how he did vs the mavericks during the regular season you would realize it was just a bad matchup. It had nothing to do with lack of mental toughness. I feel if he faced any team except the mavericks he would have been much better.

  • http://www.offthebackboard.wordpress.com OTB

    @T-Money – He has his patented “bulldoze to the basket” drive; it usually ends up in a nice dish, free throws, or a score. Dallas did a great job or curbing that though.

  • wishuwould247

    I’m a Miami Heat fan (DWade the best in the league). Lebron shouldn’t be sorry for nothing. He didn’t do anything wrong! He had power and he used it PERIOD. People outside of Cleveland hated him for that reason, SCREW THEM. “The Decision” generated close to 3 million dollars which was donated to the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. That money kept some kid or kids off the streets and help them see another way out. People should care more about the well being of a child then how a basketball player anounces his free agent decision. Thats the world we live in and thats why our President can’t get support to provide jobs for Americans. RACE!

  • rob

    nbk Posted: Dec.6 at 1:54 pm
    Come now people … So why didn’t the hate shock his system when he was killing Chicago and Boston? Then he gets to the Finals and all of a sudden the hate is too much for him and he can’t score in multiple 4th quarters due to it? That’s trash y’all … He’s a very talented player, but let’s call a spade, a spade. Homie isn’t the most mentally strong player and he needs to work on that ASAP.

    You speak the truth my man and im from chicago. He killed us going left in the 4th quarter and lebron was mean muggin everyone at the MADHOUSE and now he uses, I was loved and the hatred threw my mind off. Thats a weak excuse, How does one explain this? Lebron aint mentally strong enough.

  • rob

    I meant to use a space above

  • http://slamonline.com greg

    i hope he goes back to the old lebron, I think he needs to go back to dancin on dudes and riverdancing on the bulls. he is not kobe, not cp, not jordan, just be lebron. as of last year he lacked the skills, but hes obviously had some humble pie and heard what he needs to work on to get over the hump. and idk about anyone else but i think he is too heavy to be out on the perimiter. at whataver he weighs now

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    He never used the hatred or being labeled a villain as an excuse for his Finals performance.

  • JBV

    agree 100% with greg. Just have fun, be energetic en be yourself.

    i do feel the hating is too intense and just feels childish. The sense of being “betrayed” is simply immature. Dan Gilbert first reaction said it all: comic sans.

  • http://twitter.com/Sylvanusuagbor OpineVain

    LeBron is a big goofball. That’s who he is. He didn’t know that the Hate would be greater. Thats where he messed up at. At his position in life he should know the affect he has the sport and people. Furthermore, Bron decision making has been detriment to the hate he receives.

  • Joel

    He had a bad series. Bad timing, but still, that’s all there is to it.

    He wasn’t soft when he was dominating Boston deep in the playoffs. Wake up.

  • tony knorr

    @DEKNOWZ nice Shazzam reference.

  • Hobbes

    Lechoke is his own worst enemy.

  • Dingo Rob

    Sounds like it’s a blessing that he lost the championship looking from a self improvement point of view. He believes that he turned into the villain this year playing more angry, “the dark side”……this year will be different…..be humble, work hard and have fun the rest will come….

  • ab40

    he’s not that smart and very sensitive, oh and he’s also the best talent we’ve seen in years who can still develop big chunks of his complete game. It’s a dangerous combination and if he’d have a great workethic and a killer instinct from day one we wouldn’t be here. But he doesn’t, he needs to find a way to let go of his fears and doubts when he’s on the biggest stage. People forget that he was swept by the spurs while playing like absolute garbage. And the last finals was on par with that.

  • http://www.adultism.com justlenny

    I hope lebron gives all you haters a great big turd burger to eat this season

  • shutup

    has anyone ever blamed his young coach? everyone saying his lack of moving without the ball but did you guys watch the sets they ran? absolutely terrible coaching, Miami’s pure talent brought them to where they were. The coaches mental toughness was on exhibit when he called out his players for crying in the press.

  • ryan

    reallly????boo this guy…lmaooo

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    He was swept by the Spurs in his fourth year in the League.
    After scoring 29 straight in the fourth quarter and overtime to upset the Detroit Pistons who had just gone to the Finals the year before and were up 2-0 on his team in the series.
    Some of y’all are strange.

  • http://stapledesign.com Spaceship Jay

    @AllenP; I had been stating that since the very beginning of this foolishness; Lebron obviously does not have very good friends. It’s nearly impossible to have an objective perspective when your in the middle of a situation, so for all that I blame his people. And really? were talking about the same dude that cracked ‘sick Nowitzki’ jokes during the finals? GTFOH. Someone hug this jackass.

  • http://slamonline.com The Philosopher

    “Decisiongate” was a brilliant exploitation of the obsession that many people have towards celebrities.