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LeBron: “I let my teammates down” in 2011 NBA finals

Jun 11, 2012, 6:59 PM EDT

LeBron James AP

LeBron James has — either for the first time or the 100th, depending on how you dissect his words — owned up to what you, I, Erik Spoelstra, Jeff Van Gundy, and pretty much every sports fan living in a first world country already knew:

LeBron was not very good in the 2011 NBA finals against the Dallas Mavericks.

He talked about last year’s finals at media day, just more than 24 hours before the start Game 1 of the 2012 NBA finals, via Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel.

“I didn’t play well,” he said during Monday NBA Finals media day…. “I think I said that 100 times this year. I didn’t play well. I didn’t make enough game-changing plays that I know I’m capable of making, and I felt like I let my teammates down. I don’t know. I don’t know if that’s something I haven’t said before. Just didn’t make enough plays.

“I’m happy and I’m humbled that I can actually be back in this position less than 12 months later, to do a better job of making more plays, more game-changing plays out on the floor on a bigger stage.”

The question is not did LeBron know he played poorly. The question really is how did that prepare him for this finals, how has he absorbed what he learned and can he take the next step because of that.

As it was against Boston, LeBron is going to have to play phenomenal ball for the Heat to be in games. And it can’t just be one half of elite play, either, the Thunder are too good. LeBron and teammates will really have to bring it for 48 minutes.

We’ll see if the lessons of the past can get him there.

  1. jagwar73 - Jun 11, 2012 at 7:12 PM

    Uh oh OKC! Still pulling for the Thunder though, but it sounds like he’s on a mission.

    • blueintown - Jun 11, 2012 at 7:23 PM

      Au contraire, if you listen to the remainder of his statement the problem is abundantly clear: He’s not on a mission at all. He says the same thing he said after his historic game 6 performance: That he is going to give it his all and not have any regrets, but the outcome isn’t relevant. That’s the problem with LeBron. He’s already an all-time great, but has yet to reach legendary realization.

      • hscdaw - Jun 11, 2012 at 9:08 PM

        Totally agree with your comment. The greatest players of all time cannot stomach any loss, much less a finals loss. Questioning Lebron’s talent is idiotic, but doubting his will to go to all lengths to win is understandable.

    • p1nch3dloaf - Jun 11, 2012 at 9:04 PM

      LeHide can do it again in 2012!

  2. cdins - Jun 11, 2012 at 7:23 PM

    I guess he didnt let his teamates down in cleveland

    • blueintown - Jun 11, 2012 at 7:44 PM

      Does Mo Williams even really count as a teammate?

      • abchome - Jun 11, 2012 at 8:23 PM

        17.8 points, 46.7% FG, 43.6% 3PT, 91.2% FT (2008/09) was not good enough to be a teammate of Lebron James?

      • blueintown - Jun 11, 2012 at 8:38 PM

        You think Mo Williams is an elite NBA player? Is he in your upper-echelon? The Cleveland rosters LeBron played on were some of the sorriest sacks of crap in the league. That might explain the drop from 61 wins to 19 the year he left. Hell, the Bulls lost Michael f****** Jordan and dropped off by two wins.

        I’m not knocking Cleveland management or fans, it’s just the cold hard truth. Finding truly great NBA players is not a simple thing to do.

      • abchome - Jun 11, 2012 at 8:51 PM

        Are you saying that only elite players can be counted as teammates?

      • 6thsense79 - Jun 11, 2012 at 10:12 PM

        abchome,

        Those are really nice numbers for a second round player. And Mo Williams has had a very good career. But he is the definition of an overacheiver that made the very best of his talents. Part of the reason those Cleveland teams didn’t get anywhere is the Cavs second best player was not an elite player at an all star level.

    • blueintown - Jun 12, 2012 at 9:40 AM

      The original comment implies LeBron somehow ‘owes’ something to his teammates, which is false on it’s own. This isn’t AAU, it’s professional basketball. From an organizational standpoint, if Mo Williams is acquired with the intention of being the number two option on a championship winning team, then you are not going to win a championship. Obviously, I’m not suggesting Mo Williams was not on the Cleveland roster. Subtlety does not suit you well.

  3. abchome - Jun 11, 2012 at 7:26 PM

    I’m afraid I’ll let my teammates down again…

  4. danj3678 - Jun 11, 2012 at 7:26 PM

    “I let my teammates down” in 2011 NBA finals, and the 2010 Playoffs, and the 2009 Playoffs, and the 2008 Playoffs, and the 2007 Finals, and the 2006 Playoffs, and the 2005 Playoffs, and the 2004 Season, and the 2003 Season.

    Sorry had to finish that sentence since it probably didn’t fit in the title!!!

  5. congocash - Jun 11, 2012 at 7:37 PM

    Everybody knows lechoke wont win a ring, he doesnt have the stones for the big moment.

  6. thetruth1313 - Jun 11, 2012 at 7:38 PM

    He will let his teammates down not 1 time, not 2 times, not 3 times…

  7. Sinan - Jun 11, 2012 at 7:39 PM

    LeBron sounds like a humble man, but I guess the people on this blog are too perfect owning up to his past is not enough. I am glad those who commented live in a perfect world, I am sure he can’t wait to meet your expectations.

    • raidmagic - Jun 11, 2012 at 9:07 PM

      Amen.

    • redbullenergydrink - Jun 12, 2012 at 12:16 AM

      Haters will hate. The rest of us can appreciate the greatness we’re witness to.

  8. trueballs - Jun 11, 2012 at 7:52 PM

    He knows what to do…but It’s all about minutes. he averaged 44 min/game over the last two series’ He’s proved that he can will his team to victory in big games, but he hasn’t been consistent because playing 43-48 playoff mins every 2-3 nights takes a lot out of you.

    Not only that, but he has to play as the team’s best scorer, rebounder, play maker, defender, PF, SF, etc. Those are brutal minutes.

    I think his legs will be done by game 5, unfortunately.

    Thunder in 7.

  9. packhawk04 - Jun 11, 2012 at 8:24 PM

    The people on here dont have perfect lives. Ask lebron, he’ll tell you all about it. We have our crap lives to go to, he has a great life.

  10. mikeinthevine - Jun 11, 2012 at 8:35 PM

    Sounds like LeQuit getting ready to start making excuses again. Oh Woe is Me!!!

  11. isujames - Jun 11, 2012 at 8:47 PM

    Heat in 5 or 6 max.

    • lyndseymarieee - Jun 11, 2012 at 10:09 PM

      The Heat couldn’t beat the Pacers OR the Celtics in 5 games. They definitely will not be the Thunder in 5 games.

  12. canehouse - Jun 11, 2012 at 8:59 PM

    Very few of you if any would articulate your so called hate of LEBRON to his face… instead you would get out ur phone cameras and start clicking and snapping away… save the rebuttal… you know that you would or have already done so.

    • drunkenjunk - Jun 11, 2012 at 9:44 PM

      i’d gladly tell him why I don’t like him to his face. What’s he gonna do be a tough guy cause people don’t like him?

      • redbullenergydrink - Jun 12, 2012 at 12:19 AM

        Talk is cheap is basically what canehouse is saying. Stop talking and do it. By the way, what did Lebron do to you personally that makes you hate him? Go back to your miserable life.

      • drunkenjunk - Jun 12, 2012 at 3:41 PM

        I’d gladly do it if I ever see him. I’m probably not going to ever see him face to face. He never did anything to me. I just think he’s full of himself. I liked Lebron before his last couple seasons when he came off like a douche. You don’t have to like everyone. I’m sure there are some athletes that rub you the wrong way. Get over it.

      • redbullenergydrink - Jun 13, 2012 at 12:44 AM

        A douche? You mean you’re surprised athletes have egos they have to feed? What exactly did he do wrong? The decision? Get over it, it was 2 years ago.

      • drunkenjunk - Jun 16, 2012 at 9:13 AM

        It’s not even the decision anymore. What he said after last years finals, the fact that he just thought they were gonna roll through the league every year with no effort. He actually thought they were gonna win all those titles with no opposition. He’s a great player, I’m not taking anything away from his game.

      • redbullenergydrink - Jun 17, 2012 at 11:19 PM

        OK, so you’re complaining about the little pep fest they had after they got together? Just remember, Lebron did NOT guarantee anything. After he talked about all the championships they wanted to win, he said (and I quote), “We believe we can win multiple championships if we take care of business and do it the right way.” Now should any fan be mad at him for THAT? Who in the NBA doesn’t want to win multiple championships? Should we be shallow enough to hate Lebron for saying this?

        Haters keep hating. Keep fueling the fire.

      • drunkenjunk - Jun 25, 2012 at 5:40 PM

        get off lebron’s dick.

      • redbullenergydrink - Aug 22, 2012 at 5:16 PM

        So you can take my place? Sure.

      • redbullenergydrink - Jun 25, 2012 at 11:34 PM

        HAHAHA, I’m glad I pissed you off! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA Go back to your miserable life. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA

  13. Charlie "Jumbo" Copeland - Jun 11, 2012 at 9:04 PM

    Will the Lebron/Durant matchup be EPIC? http://wp.me/p2bjjs-Rl

  14. latchbeam - Jun 11, 2012 at 9:11 PM

    And you let Cleveland down… people are getting used to it.

  15. kfiz14 - Jun 11, 2012 at 9:21 PM

    I hope he dies.

    • angulocarlos1 - Jun 11, 2012 at 9:46 PM

      wow, very classy kfiz14. You must be the son your parents are embarrased to introduce to family friends.

    • redbullenergydrink - Jun 12, 2012 at 12:20 AM

      A little mentally ill you may be?

    • florida727 - Jun 12, 2012 at 8:42 AM

      Seriously? Do you take sports that seriously that you’d wish that another human being would actually DIE? What kind of a pathetic life do you lead? Get help, man. You’re genuinely a sick individual. I feel sorry for your family.

  16. canehouse - Jun 11, 2012 at 9:47 PM

    kfiz… do the world a favor and please do not breed… you’re weak and clueless… too many of ur breed already.

  17. franklamar17 - Jun 11, 2012 at 10:37 PM

    We have some real haters on here we really do.I think some are talking big smack on what he has not done to lift his team up.I bet the ones that are so perfect and know how to be a champ work in the mail room for the last ten years but they can critic mr James on what he has not done,and they cannot get to the top in there on field.show some love

    • foozeball - Jun 11, 2012 at 11:02 PM

      Some of us weren’t born 6’8″ and 250+ pounds with freakish, never before seen in the NBA, athletic ability.

      • angulocarlos1 - Jun 11, 2012 at 11:11 PM

        foozeball, stopped hating on this man. It’s pathetic

  18. brownsfan5505 - Jun 11, 2012 at 11:03 PM

    Lebrun will get his first ing as long as he as some health. He is playing at a “legendary” level rt now. If you watch the heat this year compared to last year there offense is much better. The last 2 games the heat one because they stopped bitching about no calls and hustled down the floor. The refs made it clear that they are ping to let these guys play so it should be a physical finals. The heat need haslem and bosh to step up and play big. Daren’t and Westbrook will play well but I think the heat can get into westbrooks head and get him flustered. Go heat

  19. thenmoveback - Jun 11, 2012 at 11:10 PM

    Kfiz14.
    I hope u die, slow and painfully like the celtics.

  20. labratre - Jun 11, 2012 at 11:33 PM

    He is on a mission, and guess what, Dwayne Wade have his way with Westbrook and Hardon, and Sefalosha. Check out film, people! Miami matches up with OKC a lot more than you people think. Like I said, OKC, was not even suppose to be here. Miami was not suppose to be here either, it was suppose to be the C’s and Spurs, REMEMBER! Just sit back and watch, Lebron will get that monkey off his back this year. OKC, will choke, from the pressure. They’ll be back next year! It’s Bronson year people!

    • hannsta - Jun 12, 2012 at 11:46 AM

      Charles bronsons year was a longg time ago buddy. Its okcs year XD

  21. labratre - Jun 11, 2012 at 11:35 PM

    It’ Brons year, damn auto fill, LMAO!

  22. mungman69 - Jun 11, 2012 at 11:46 PM

    A man on a mission. Labron is going head to head with Kevin. I’m ready, is Labron?

  23. gopokes0714 - Jun 11, 2012 at 11:51 PM

    It’s cute he thinks he can make a difference

  24. jmmsr1 - Jun 12, 2012 at 12:04 AM

    More words of wisdom from the big dummy,

  25. txnative61 - Jun 12, 2012 at 1:11 AM

    May be his time. I see it playing out rather in the strategic approach the Thunder take in response. Excellent point made that fatigue playing at that level inevitably undermines will and determination. The Thunder have the stronger bench, and youth, and properly managed may thwart all his efforts, with no implications on his manhood or abilities whatsoever.

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