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LeBron says he did not enjoy being the villain last season

Dec 6, 2011, 12:40 PM EDT

NBA basketball player US LeBron James pl Getty Images

LeBron James is on his way to Miami for the opening of training camp in what will be an interesting year for him and the Heat:

What did they learn and how did they grow after last season?

LeBron was candid in an interview with ESPN Tuesday, including saying he did not like being everybody’s bad guy last year (transcription by Ira Winderman at the Sun Sentinel).

“To be on the other side, they call it the dark side, or the villain, whatever they call it, it was definitely challenging for myself,” he said in an interview with ESPN. “It basically turned me into somebody I wasn’t. Me, personally, I’m not that guy.”

LeBron also agreed that he did not play well enough down the stretch in the finals.

“I didn’t make enough game-changing plays,” he said. “I just know I didn’t play well. I could have played down the stretch better.”

The question is, do the Heat learn and grow from that experience?

  1. sunsation3413 - Dec 6, 2011 at 12:51 PM

    Does Lebron think people are going to change their minds about him this year? He may get a few fans back but he has tarnished himself forever by “the decision”. So he better get used to being the bad guy as that is how he is thought of now.

    • redbullenergydrink - Dec 6, 2011 at 1:54 PM

      So you’re saying if the decision had never happened, Cleveland would still love LBJ?

      • slowclyde86 - Dec 6, 2011 at 2:23 PM

        Cleveland? Of course not. That being said, he would not have been the league-wide villain without the Decision. With it, he was booed everywhere outside of those incredible fans in Miami.

      • tribeallica - Dec 6, 2011 at 3:06 PM

        He’s a liar and a quiter.

  2. Gordon - Dec 6, 2011 at 12:54 PM

    Change your TamBron Queen James!

  3. mgscott - Dec 6, 2011 at 1:17 PM

    Akron Hates You

    • BrownsTown - Dec 6, 2011 at 4:48 PM

      Word around town is the the rest of the family has left his old palace and have also taken their talents to South Beach.

      LeBron in no mas in Akron aside from having a really expensive vacation home if/when visiting.

  4. blueintown - Dec 6, 2011 at 1:21 PM

    (Redundancy)

  5. dirtybird2020 - Dec 6, 2011 at 1:21 PM

    Always has excuses! He will always be the guy who disappears when it counts, dont hold himself accountable, needs stars around him to buy a ring, lebron go kill yourself! We dint feel bad for you! Keep begging players to play with you for close to nothing your just building your legacy as a person who cant win unless the whole east allstar team plays for you! Queer learn from rose, says its was his fault they lost, says he dont need another scorer(even though he might), says he will play better and dont throw team mates under the bus( wants bogans back next year) , stay classy lebum!

  6. ogre2010 - Dec 6, 2011 at 1:26 PM

    Kurt LOVES LeBron

    • BrownsTown - Dec 6, 2011 at 4:45 PM

      I put the over/under on the number of #6 sherseys owned by Kurt at five and I’m taking the over.

  7. southbeachtalent - Dec 6, 2011 at 1:30 PM

    haters gonna hate

    • stoutfiles - Dec 6, 2011 at 5:08 PM

      Yes, they are. For the rest of his career.

      Must be fun being hated everywhere outside Miami.

      • southbeachtalent - Dec 7, 2011 at 9:47 AM

        I’m sure there are many outside of Miami that still recognize he is the best in the game, you know fans with perspective.

      • cantonbound13 - Dec 9, 2011 at 3:10 PM

        I live in Miami & can’t stand LeBron. He’s arrogant & overrated. Cleveland can have him!

  8. jasonbournepe - Dec 6, 2011 at 2:07 PM

    the hate started with the championship smoke party, then declaring that they’ll win not 1..or 2..or 3…etc. LeBron has all the talent in the world, he played EVERY position last season and did a great job of it (IMO, he was the real MVP…sorry derrick), but for some reason….LeBron just chooses to take himself out of the game by trying to be more Magic Johnson and less Michael Jordan.

  9. goforthanddie - Dec 6, 2011 at 2:18 PM

    You’re not a “villain”, you’re a dumbass. And that obviously hasn’t changed.

  10. narrabeen23 - Dec 6, 2011 at 2:25 PM

    Based on how he played last year, he was weak-minded and couldn’t handle the pressure. Based on that interview w Rachel, it doesn’t sound like anything has changed.

    My opinion, he is an all-world talent, but his desire to be liked trumps his desire to be great, and that’s not a formula for becoming a champion.

    • Kurt Helin - Dec 6, 2011 at 5:09 PM

      He didn’t handle the pressure when he shut down Derrick Rose at both ends during the Eastern Conference Finals?

      • liltmac2003 - Dec 6, 2011 at 11:32 PM

        There are two flaws in your argument.

        1- He didn’t shut down D-Rose on both ends, only on offense. D-Rose never guarded him.

        2- I could mention how Bulls went undefeated against the Heat in the regular season, or even in the 1st game of the Eastern Conference Finals when the destroyed them.

        But I will not use that as an argument to my defense, because it wasn’t the Finals….just like LeBron handling “pressure” against the D-Rose.

        The comment says LeBron doesn’t have the “formula for becoming a champion”…not LeBron has the “formula for becoming a Eastern Conference Finals champion”.

      • cantonbound13 - Dec 9, 2011 at 3:12 PM

        2-8 all time record in the finals. How’s that for not being able to handle pressure?

  11. reedme16 - Dec 6, 2011 at 2:52 PM

    That is just silly. We have athlete’s that shoot themselves, kill people, and do drugs but Lebron is tarnished forever because he announced his decision to leave the Cavs on TV. If Lebron wings one title all this non-sense will be forgotten about. Kobe was once hated too for a number of things that tarnished his legacy. Two titles later he is a media darling again.

    • blueintown - Dec 6, 2011 at 6:28 PM

      The knuckle dragging mouth breathers on any thread related to Lebron are impervious to logic. Their existence is based on the opportunity to call Lebron a choke artist/quitter/traitor at least once a week.

  12. sunsation3413 - Dec 6, 2011 at 3:03 PM

    The Miami fans should be booing him after his epic fail in the playoffs.

    • southbeachtalent - Dec 6, 2011 at 4:41 PM

      No, we have some perspective. We will get our championship.

      • BrownsTown - Dec 6, 2011 at 4:52 PM

        “Our?” What position do you play?

      • southbeachtalent - Dec 7, 2011 at 9:49 AM

        Browns Town,

        Ours as in Miami? Can you wrap your mind around that?

  13. drewsylvania - Dec 6, 2011 at 3:31 PM

    Is he really so dumb that he couldn’t have seen how this would play out?

  14. cantonbound13 - Dec 6, 2011 at 4:02 PM

    Arrogant & overrated.

  15. jesse1834 - Dec 6, 2011 at 4:07 PM

    Who cares? Superstars or no superstars surrounding him, he still hasn’t won anything.

    • southbeachtalent - Dec 6, 2011 at 4:42 PM

      So you expected a championship on there first year together? Sure that’s reasonable logic.

      • goforthanddie - Dec 6, 2011 at 7:19 PM

        They did.

      • southbeachtalent - Dec 7, 2011 at 9:45 AM

        handie,

        Every great team expects a Championship every year. Ask the Lakers, Celtics, Spurs and so on. Again, all the negativity roots from scorned fans. Get a life..

      • phaden27 - Dec 7, 2011 at 1:33 PM

        Except the Celtics actually did it in 08…

  16. BrownsTown - Dec 6, 2011 at 4:43 PM

    “Absolutely not,” James said when asked if it bothered him that so many people were rooting against him.

    “At the end of the day, all the people that was rooting on me to fail, they have to wake up tomorrow and have the same life that they had before they woke up today,” he said.

    “They have the same personal problems they had today. I’m going to continue to live the way I want to live and continue to do the things that I want to do with me and my family and be happy with that.”

  17. sunsation3413 - Dec 6, 2011 at 6:23 PM

    Who cares about the Bulls series Kurt. The championship banner is being raised in Dallas.

  18. kilo0986 - Dec 6, 2011 at 6:49 PM

    Must have took every ounce of will in Kurts soul not to write a biast post about lebron

  19. bhester1906 - Dec 6, 2011 at 7:13 PM

    He is the best on the league… Live with it

    • cantonbound13 - Dec 10, 2011 at 2:44 PM

      Last I saw they play 4 quarters in this league. How can you call him the best when he disappears in the 4th quarter of big games. If he were the best he would have a ring by now. I’d take Kobe, Nowitzki, Howard, and Wade over James. Those guys make big plays in big games.

  20. acieu - Dec 6, 2011 at 9:28 PM

    Kiss kiss kiss is the sound we hear from the backside area of Lebron generated by NBC writers

  21. barklikeadog - Dec 6, 2011 at 10:41 PM

    Still leBOOB

    • cantonbound13 - Dec 9, 2011 at 3:16 PM

      I like “The Chokin’ One”

  22. donbp87 - Dec 6, 2011 at 11:58 PM

    Its amazing to me how many people hate Lebron because he is arrogant and so called overrated!
    Get this through your skulls MOST GREAT PLAYERS ARE ARROGANT ESPECIALLY THE GREATEST OF ALL TIME MICHEAL JORDAN! Micheal was one of the meanest, condescending, bball players ever, but because he was a great player it makes it okay? Now if you don’t like Lebron cause he is a jerk then that’s fine but then you need to add ALOT of other players to your list. In the end i don’t care for him because with all of the talent he (Lebron) has he lacks heart. I could care less if he is a jerk or not.

    • blueintown - Dec 7, 2011 at 8:43 AM

      Thank you! How quickly people forget that the noble MJ was famous for LITERALLY PHYSICALLY ATTACKING HIS OWN TEAMMATES. Remember when he felt so threatened by the terrifying Steve Kerr that he punched him in the face during practice?

      • philtration - Dec 7, 2011 at 9:48 AM

        I really enjoyed those 6 titles the Bulls won while Jordan was here in Chicago.
        Funny how Kerr stepped up and did what was needed of him AFTER Jordan woke him up.

        LeBron is too busy making fun of another player being ill to get his teammates to give 100%.

      • blueintown - Dec 7, 2011 at 12:31 PM

        Kerr stepped up after Jordan woke him up? Would you suggest Lebron punch Dwayne Wade in the face? Should Dwayne punch Lebron in the face? Who should punch who in the face, since that is clearly the formula in your mind for winning basketball games. I enjoyed the titles too. But Steve Kerr hit threes before getting punched in the face, Steve Kerr hit threes after getting punched in the face.

        And since you enjoyed those titles so much, you’ll remember when Jordan made fun of NBA players like Reggie Miller (“chickenfighting with a girl”) and Byron (or is it Bryon?) Russell amongst others.

    • cantonbound13 - Dec 9, 2011 at 3:18 PM

      Please don’t say LeBron’s name in the same breath as Michael’s. Michael has more skill in his small toe than LeBron will ever have.

  23. rgonzales1287 - Dec 7, 2011 at 7:33 AM

    Dirtybird2020- you are so dumb, read the interview, he did put the blame on himself. He didn’t throw the team under the bus or anything that you said, look I’m not a lebron fan but you people who hate on him are messed up. Get over it and stop getting on him for every little thing he does, he’s just human man. Man I swear people need to get over the hating lebron thing, that ain’t cool

    • southbeachtalent - Dec 7, 2011 at 9:59 AM

      It got old long time ago.

  24. dysraw1 - Dec 7, 2011 at 9:55 AM

    Lebron is a dick for the following ; he knew he was leaving the cavs all along, he could have been a man an said so.

    • southbeachtalent - Dec 7, 2011 at 10:02 AM

      Yea totally…

      Just like when a team realizes a player is aging or his skills have dipped and they decide to cut him or trade him (Peyton Manning). Lots of loyalty both ways huh? It’s a business, and that goes both ways.

      • dannomac21 - Dec 9, 2011 at 5:35 PM

        except none of the above has happened, nor will it happen….

    • cantonbound13 - Dec 10, 2011 at 2:53 PM

      Look at some of LeBron’s actions, they show just how classless he is.
      1. Refused to shake hands with Orlando players after losing the playoff series.
      2. Didn’t even call his owner to thank him for kissing his overrated butt all those years instead does a decision show.
      3. Predicts 9 or more championships at a ridiculous team rally.
      4. Mocks Dirk Nowitzki by coughing during the finals (maybe he was actually choking).

      Believe me Cleveland, you’re better off without him.

  25. jollyjoker2 - Dec 7, 2011 at 6:49 PM

    lebron will always be the villian because he had the keys to the clevelend kingdom and decided that a few more marketing dollars with his buds would be a better plan. That’s un american and most people hate it. The players may think that pooling all the talent together through contracts rather than the draft to be a power house team is a good idea, but they certainly won’t get any respect outside of the hometown fans. Lebron needs to go back to the jim and practice his wavery jump shot.

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