LeBron James said he was sorry on Wednesday night (May 11th). A year to the day after a game 5 debacle against the very same Boston Celtics, where James took tremendous criticism for allegedly quitting on the court in a 120-88 rout, he apologized to fans, family and friends he left behind in Cleveland:
“The way it panned out with all the friends and family and the fans back home, I apologize for the way it happened. I knew this opportunity was once in a lifetime. To be able to come down here and pair with two guys and this organization — in order for me to move on with my career, that team that we just defeated, we had to go through them.”
After a “decision” that shook the landscape of the NBA, a premature (some would argue immature) celebratory pat-on-the-back style post-signing pep rally, a tumultuous regular season filled with blood, sweat and tears in the locker room, the much-maligned superstar that is LeBron James finally exorcised the NBA playoff demon that is the Boston Celtics and threw the non-clutch gorilla off his back at the same time in a classic final flurry of dagger-filled buckets, complete with after shot poses that would make MJ proud.
After LeBron scored the last 10 points of a 97-87 series clinching victory against a very different, injury-plagued Boston Celtics squad, he immediately took to one knee and buried his head in his left hand after the final buzzer sounded. He had not won the NBA championship, a goal that is more of a possibility now than at the start of the season, but he might as well have. The Celtics have been responsible for two of James last three playoff exits beginning in 2008 where he dueled with Paul Pierce in a classic Game 7 for the right to go to the NBA Finals that year. 2008 coincidentally was the first year Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen joined Paul Pierce to form the “Big 3” blueprint every team seems like it is trying to follow. King James admitted their union influenced his decision to team up with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
Now I ask, should this apology make Cleveland fans feel better? LeBron pretty much admitted that even though then-Cavaliers GM Danny Ferry tried every year to add pieces around his hometown superstar, including the likes of All-Star guard Mo Williams, Antawn Jamison and Shaquille O’Neal that he didn’t have enough talent around him to beat the Celtics.
I guess Cleveland fans can take solace in the fact that LeBron finally let his guard down emotionally to admit his thought process.
Baby steps, people.