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LeBron James says he tried to repay Cleveland on the court, is ready for change

Sep 13, 2010, 12:49 PM EDT

Thumbnail image for LeBron_Heat.jpgDoes LeBron James owe Cleveland anything?

LeBron has been at the center of the NBA universe this summer, but has said very little personally to the media (we’re not really counting The Decision as hard-hitting questions).

There are a lot of questions to be asked, and Lang Whitaker of SLAM covered many of them a wide-ranging Q&A with LeBron James for an upcoming edition of the magazine. LeBron does not give any shocking answers, but he emphasizes that he realized that he cannot make everyone happy and had to do what is best for himself and his family.

LeBron also talked about what he enjoyed the most about his crazy summer — and how he repaid Cleveland.

They best part of the summer for me has been change. It’s a new beginning, a new start. I’m excited about that. The seven years I had in Cleveland, I loved, and I love those fans and will always love those fans for giving me seven great years. I tried to repay those fans the right way by doing what I did on the court. But it’s been exciting. The change, to know I’m going into a situation I haven’t had since my rookie year, and that’s a new beginning, a fresh start. That’s exciting for me. It’s been a great summer. You’re going to have forks in the road, bumps in the road, throughout life. But if you have your goal and you know which way you’re headed, you just go for it and you don’t stop until you get it….

Well, I don’t feel beat up, not at all. I knew there was going to be some negative point to it. But at the end of the day, I think I made the right decision, and I’m happy with my decision. Just like you said, you can’t make everyone happy at the end of the day, and I knew that, I knew that from the beginning. And I understand. It’s OK.

As for the questions about how this team will mesh on the court….

For me, you don’t even think about knowing it will work. You know it’s going to work. You don’t say, I’m going to make my decision and hopefully this works out. D-Wade is a playmaker. I’ve played with D-Wade and I’ve played with Bosh for four years in the summertime. It’s not as long as an NBA season, but you see the sacrifices we was able to make in the summertime, so it wasn’t a hard choice for myself because I know how hard they play the game and I know how much they want to win…

Sacrifice is a part of the game. Now, if you’re talking about sacrificing a few more shots or a few plays here, that’s not a problem. The goal is to an NBA championship, and however we do that, it has to get done. That’s ultimately what we want to do. That’s also why we all came here, to win an NBA championship. It wasn’t so all of us could try to get an MVP award the same year. That’s not what it’s about.

Then there are the questions about losing to Boston in the playoffs…

We had a good chance to win that series, and we played well in spurts, but we didn’t play as consistently as Boston did. And I think every Eastern Conference team saw that when they went against Boston, how consistent they were from game to game. Now, they may have lost one game or two games, but I think they were the most consistent team in the Playoffs in the Eastern Conference. That’s why they were able to get back to the Eastern Finals.

Check out the whole interview, there is a lot more there.

  1. doesn't matter - Sep 23, 2010 at 12:25 AM

    Apparently your the “puck” that woulndn’t know class if it bit you. All I know is that his carma will follow him.

  2. LG - Sep 25, 2010 at 5:10 PM

    Everyone in Cleveland (and everyone that hates LeBron) says he quit in the playoffs. I don’t understand that logic. He put up averages of 29.1P, 9.3R and 7.6A while shooting 50% from the field throuout the payoffs. Those are MVP numbers. In the Boston series, with an injured shooting elbow, he had very little help. He was constantly getting double-teamed and triple-teamed. He still put up 27.8P, 9.3R and 7.2A witha 0.447FG% against Boston. Those are still great numbers (certainly better than Kobe’s 28.6P, 8R and 3.9A on 0.405FG% against Boston). He had a bad Game 5, but the rest of the team didn’t step up. Kobe’s Lakers did step up for him in Game 7 against Boston, when he shot 6 for 24 FG and only made 11 of 15 FT. LeBron put all he had into game 6, getting 27P, 19R(!) and 10A all while dealing with triple-teams throughout the night. I don’t know about you but I don’t think a quitter would put up those kinds of numbers. Did anyone call Kobe a quitter for having a bad Game 7 in the Finals? No. LeBron did not quit on the Cavs in the playoff–they didn’t step up when he needed them.

  3. LG - Sep 25, 2010 at 5:58 PM

    You’re right, Barry. Nobody wanted to come to Cleveland. Amare refused to come. Bosh was not interested. Boozer left a while ago, so why he wasn’t coming back. All they could get through trades was an aged Shaquille O’Neal and an aging Antawn Jamison. Last time I checked, their names don’t have the letter “D” and their games have no “D” as well. How could you start a game with 2 defensive liabilities in the front court?
    Anyone that does not see help (good help) around them is going to ask the team to get help. If they don’t deliver, ask for a trade (read about Kobe in 2008). If you’re a free agent and the offseason looks hopeless, you leave for greener pastures. Nobody can do it alone. MJ could not do it before Pippen and Grant were ready. Magic and Bird came into superteams from year 1. Shaq left Orlando because the help was not good enough. Kobe was miserable (first round exits) after asking the Lakers to get rid of Shaq (until Gasol came in and Bynum developed).
    LeBron got to the Finals in 2007 by beating the Pistons in the semi-finals all by himself. Yes, that same Pistons team that beat Shaq and Kobe in their prime in the 2004 Finals (even with Karl Malone and Gary payton on the team). And yes I said Shaq and Kobe because when Shaq was with the Lakers he was the best player on that team before Kobe decided that getting 35 pints per game was more important than winning.
    LeBron values winning more that statistics or being the top dog on the team. That’s why he left. The Cavs tried to build a winner around James but they could not attract the talent that was needed to win Championships. Ceveland is not the same market as LA or Boston or NY or Miami. He could have broken all sorts of records if he stayed, but I doubt Cleveland could have attracted the players needed to win. He made “THE [right] DECISION”, though he could’ve chosen a better way of announcing it (like a regular press conference with his new team). But it was the right choice regardless.

  4. Anonymous - Sep 26, 2010 at 9:32 PM

    shaq was drafted to the magic and eventually went to the lakers that wasnt drafted

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