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Wade on LeBron: “He’s just a total different player”

Jun 18, 2012, 10:03 AM EDT

LeBron James of the Miami Heat goes to t Getty Images

LeBron James was the best player on the floor in the fourth quarter of Game 3 — eight points on four shots, plus he got to the line for five free throws. He steadied his team down the stretch. He and the Heat looked like the experienced team, the veterans, while the young Thunder were missing free throws, and James Harden was turning the ball over and picking up a bad foul 35 feet from the hoop while his coach yelled “don’t foul.”

It’s been like this throughout the playoffs for LeBron. He seems comfortable. He always needed that to be his best and last season he seemed taken aback by being the villain and the pressure about his legacy. But this year he’s at peace with everything.

“He’s just a total different player,” Dwyane Wade said after Game 3. “I thought up until the finals last year he was having an amazing playoffs. He had a game where he struggled and he let that get into his mind a little bit and he was thinking too much. Now he’s playing, he’s on the attack, he’s been very aggressive.

“It’s kind of like when he puts his head down and goes to the rim you have to foul him or he’s going to finish. I love when he is attacking the basket because good things happen for us.”

LeBron is just trying to keep it simple.

“I’m just trying to make plays,” LeBron said after the game Sunday. “I told you guys last year I didn’t make enough game-changing plays. I can kind of pride myself on that, I didn’t do it last year in the finals. I’m just trying to make plays.”

He was attacking — he shot just 2-of-8 outside the paint but 9-of-15 in it, plus he got to the line 8 times for free throw attempts. You get those when you attack (which is why the Heat got to the line more all night, that and OKC fouling three-point jump shooters).

With a ring, LeBron’s legacy changes, at least for some fans. It’s not that he becomes beloved by all, he’ll still be the villain, he just becomes one you have to respect a little more.

LeBron, he seems comfortable with that.

  1. blueintown - Jun 18, 2012 at 10:11 AM

    “With a ring, LeBron’s legacy changes, at least for some fans. It’s not that he becomes beloved by all, he’ll still be the villain, he just becomes one you have to respect a little more.”

    Don’t hold your breath, Kurt.

    • ras1tafari - Jun 18, 2012 at 12:21 PM

      Wah. You have no reason to hate LeBron, and comments like this just make you sound petty. Get a life

      • blueintown - Jun 18, 2012 at 12:33 PM

        Dear Idiot:

        I like LeBron. The article stated that if he won a ring people would be forced to respect him a little more. I said “don’t hold your breath” because the people who currently loathe him will never respect him anymore because they have already made up their mind, regardless of how he performs. No one has any reason to hate LeBron.

    • 20dollardinners - Jun 18, 2012 at 4:02 PM

      People are just drama queens. This is why athlete interviews always suck – because they get crucified for saying anything.

      1. He signed a contract with the worst team in the NBA (the Cavaliers). He took them to multiple playoffs and the finals. He filled the arena, sold tons of merchandising, and nearly doubled the value of the franchise.

      2. He chose not to resign with the Cavaliers after fully obligating his contract. He chose to sign with a different team and took LESS money to be in a situation where he felt he had a better chance of winning. In 2 years they have been to the finals twice – not bad. He announced this decision on TV – big deal.

      3. In an event in Miami for Miami fans he told them they had aspirations of multiple championships.

      He is WAY TOO NICE of a guy to be a villian. In fact his issue has been that he is too nice. He overthinks the situation. He takes the criticism too seriously. He passes too much.

      What we are seeing in these finals does change his legacy. He has a competitive intensity we haven’t seen previously.

  2. 1972wasalongtimeago - Jun 18, 2012 at 10:13 AM

    He’s THE man.

  3. truthhurtstoo - Jun 18, 2012 at 10:16 AM

    haters gonna hate…

    • 808raiderinparadise - Jun 18, 2012 at 1:12 PM

      Pathetic, I can’t stand haters … concerning themselves onto others lives, cheering agianst them to fail. Hahaha, LeBron is a great guy, amazing player, and I am a WITNESS. The haters will be the VICTIM

  4. mavajo - Jun 18, 2012 at 10:19 AM

    Funny thing is, there’s a few guys on the court in these Finals that are bigger d-bags than LeBron. But LeBron is that one that’s the most hated. The dude’s always been charitable (donated all the proceeds [$4 million] from the The Decision to charity, never thrown his teammates under the bus, never been in trouble with the law, never had an on-court or off-court incident), and yet fans treat him like a pariah for the “ego” of The Decision. It had 10 million viewers. Most of you whining about it were watching it.

    I’m not a Heat fan. I was always ambivalent about LeBron before The Decision. But seeing all the hate that this guy is getting has caused me to become a fan. Wade’s a cry-baby, and I’ve got no affinity for the Heat — but LeBron’s a good dude on and off the court, and doesn’t deserve the hate he’s getting.

    Now Michael Jordan, on the other hand, was a Grade-A egotistical prick. But he’s universally loved and adored. Jordan’s lucky that he didn’t have to face the media back than that LeBron has to face today. That’s the big difference. That and the rings. But LeBron’s got time to fix that part.

    • acdc363 - Jun 18, 2012 at 11:08 AM

      Agreed. Juwan Howard is def a bigger douche than Lebron.

    • edweird0 - Jun 18, 2012 at 11:18 AM

      Thank you for making such a valid point; All the people ridiculing him for that decision were the EXACT same people who sat through the entire special. You can’t feed into that and then hold it against him.

      • scalfor3 - Jun 18, 2012 at 11:51 AM

        “All the people that were rooting for me to fail… at the end of the day, tomorrow they have to wake up and have the same life that (they had) before they woke up today”

        he’s a great ballplayer, but also a clueless, egotistical jerk

      • blueintown - Jun 18, 2012 at 1:08 PM

        You know LeBron pretty well, scalfor3? Spent a lot of one-on-one time with him?

      • 1historian - Jun 18, 2012 at 1:11 PM

        scalfor3 – what he said WAS a bit nasty.

        But it’s true

    • mikejd12 - Jun 18, 2012 at 11:45 AM

      The media now is outreagous. They have way to much power. This isnt just with sports but everything. People dont understand the the media is a buiness that thrives on making money. They love to twist and turn things so they can make money. I mean how many times has the media been caught doctoring information they give…. ex: Oil spill ” Sad world but they talk about what gets ratings. I almost feel like the media stirred this up worse then it really is. I feel that they dont shut up about it and thats when people get annoyed. Jordan and some of the greats back in the day……… I dont know if they could deal with how bad it is now.

  5. starship7 - Jun 18, 2012 at 11:38 AM

    There was nothing about Michael Jordan that was lucky. He was the most competitive player you ever saw that become the greastest of all time. Deal with it.

    • mikejd12 - Jun 18, 2012 at 11:49 AM

      Competitive yes, but he never had the media that is now. Jordan had a gambling problem got divorced from his wife for it. IF that happened now….the media would eat it up alive!! Like lions!

      • minnesota32 - Jun 18, 2012 at 12:28 PM

        Not to mention retired from the game because he lost the passion for it. Imagine how quickly his passion would have faded if he had the media in his face asking him stupid questions and twisting his words to fit their own narrative.

  6. bougin89 - Jun 18, 2012 at 12:11 PM

    C’mon, Lebron brought this on himself. Although I agree there are bigger douche bags in the NBA than James, to say he isn’t a Grade-A egotistical prick isn’t accurate(in fairness probably 75% give or take of NBA players are Grade-A egotistical pricks). I think the reason Lebron is the villain now is because how many superstars have ever schemed over a course of a few seasons to go to the same team? The way he handled “the decision” and left Cleveland he had to know he was going to reserve HUGE criticism. He made his bed and is sleeping in it now.

    • mavajo - Jun 18, 2012 at 12:26 PM

      So I guess you’ve been working at the same company since you were 18? No? You mean you changed jobs? OUTRAGE! And I bet you even planned it! You were probably scheming by interviewing for a new job while still holding your old one! EGO! DISGRACEFUL!

      Get a grip. He was a free agent, and Cleveland was a joke. He didn’t owe them anything more than he gave them. LeBron did more for the Cavs than the Cavs did for LeBron.

      Funny how every American worker wants to control his own destiny — but gets pissed off if athletes do it.

      LeBron’s biggest sin is being naive, and people pass that off as him being a jerk. The guy’s probably one of the nicest stars in sports. Hell, he’s been a basketball god since like puberty. What would your ego be like in those shoes? LeBron’s a remarkably level-headed and introspective dude considering it all.

      Now if he cheats on his wife, gets caught with a hooker, gets a DUI, etc., then we can start villifying him. But so far the greatest sin you guys can peg on him is that he was part of a spectale that donated $4 million to chaity. Oh the humanity. Literally.

      • bougin89 - Jun 19, 2012 at 9:59 AM

        mavajo…Lebron had every right to change teams but any athlete/celebrity who makes money off of fans has a public relations battle. This should be a pretty simple concept. He had to have known he would get backlash and if he didn’t he has the wrong PR team. Re-read my comment. He made his bed and is sleeping in it now, my point was you can’t blame fans for the backlash he has received.

  7. rodge1 - Jun 18, 2012 at 12:20 PM

    Haters = Hypocrites

  8. lameasish - Jun 18, 2012 at 1:04 PM

    Some bitter people on here. Get over it. Did he do anything to YOU personally?

  9. 1historian - Jun 18, 2012 at 1:14 PM

    FYI – I did not watch “The Decision”

    I watched some snips from it and it was pretty much a completely clueless thing for Lebron to do. He seems to agree with me. (and with a few billion others)

    He has apologized for it

    Can we move on?

  10. reddolfan66 - Jun 18, 2012 at 1:59 PM

    LBJ=MVP, Lets go Heat!!!

  11. stonecld33 - Jun 18, 2012 at 2:58 PM

    Imagine if Jordan had left Chicago and went to the Knicks. Oh boy.

  12. ahmiller21 - Jun 18, 2012 at 6:59 PM

    The same people who hate on LeBron are the same people who would build a shrine for him is he was on their team. I’m a Chicago fan, and a huge fan of MJ for his play ON THE COURT. A true fan of basketball appreciates the players skills period. LBJ will win multiple championships, and is easily going to be considered one of the best in history. The only thing he is missing, and will find, is that “ego” that everyone hates on him for supposedly having and that “ego” that Jordan had. It’s not an ego, it’s that killer instinct, “I’m better than all of you on this court and im gonna show you can’t stop me attitude” and he WILL find it! When he does, it will be beauty to watch! Miami in 6.

  13. cowboys8819 - Jun 19, 2012 at 1:26 AM

    First of all I’m a Spurs fan so I am not big on egos but the best players to have ever played the game had egos. There is a difference in types of egos the ones that MJ had and even TD has to this day is a good ego to have they just don’t want to lose and I can’t blame them. I like LBJ and hope he gets a ring this year and maybe more as the years go on! I just think its pathetic for people to hate this guy when kids should look up to him and parents should have their kids watch him and conduct themselves like him then maybe kids would stay in school, make good decisions and grow up to be great adults instead for drop out losers that hate everyone that has success because they were to lazy to chase their dream! LBJ hasn’t been handed anything he has earned it and that is the reason I hope he gets a ring this year! By the way the only reason people are mad about “The Decision” is because he didn’t pick your team! Go Heat!!!

  14. fanz928 - Jun 19, 2012 at 8:47 AM

    Win a ring or all your legacy will be overthrown by hate , chocking , the missing quarter, and of course yo mama

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