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LeBron on not winning Defensive Player of the Year: ‘It sucks.’

Apr 25, 2013, 7:46 PM EDT

LeBron James listens to a question at a news conference during media day at the Miami Heat's home arena in Miami, Florida Reuters

LeBron James finished second in the Defensive Player of the Year balloting this season, losing out to Memphis Grizzlies big man Marc Gasol.

Jams finished second in the voting with 12 less first place votes than Gasol, and ahead of the Thunder’s Serge Ibaka.

Gasol was a fine choice, considering he was the anchor to a Grizzlies defense that finished second in the league in points allowed per 100 possessions. Miami finished seventh in the league in the same category, and lineup data showed that Memphis was much weaker defensively as a team when Gasol was on the bench.

James is as competitive as they come, so maybe the fact that he took a less diplomatic route when speaking about the award was something we should have seen coming.

From Ethan J. Skolnick of The Palm Beach Post:

“It sucks,” James said. “It sucks. It sucks.”

James was asked if his candidacy for other awards — notably the MVP — hurt his chances.

“I don’t know,” James said. “It definitely sucks, though. Finishing second? Who wants to finish second?”

Was this his best defensive season?

“Probably,” James said. “I mean, I guard everybody on the floor. I don’t know if there’s one player in NBA history who’s guarded one through five (positions). It’s over with now, but that’s cool.”

James has a point, as the effort he puts in on a nightly basis can often go unnoticed when he’s handling the bulk of his team’s scoring and dominating in so many other areas.

While Gasol’s defensive prowess is largely built around rotational play and rim protection that enhances the team defensive effort, James is known as more of an on-ball defender, and this award typically recognizes big men as opposed to wing or perimeter players.

James is going to win his fourth career MVP this season, so it’s not exactly as if he won’t be recognized for his stellar season. And besides, he seems to have a sense of humor about the whole thing — the part about “finishing second” was likely a playful shot at Kevin Durant, and the quotes that were attributed to him in a recent Sports Illustrated piece.

  1. psung26 - Apr 25, 2013 at 8:19 PM

    Marc Gasol when asked “Is [DPOY] something you set as a goal for yourself during your career?”

    “No, no never, I think awards especially individual awards are more of a result than goals, gotta look at it a different way.”

    Lebron James?

    “I have to know all the likes and dislikes, pros and cons, of each and every player in this league because at some point, I’m going to be matched up with them,” James said. “It’s a challenge for me mentally and physically.”

    “I mean, I guard everybody on the floor. I don’t know if there’s one player in NBA history who’s guarded one through five (positions). It’s over with now, but that’s cool.”

    Yeah, it’s over now. It’s cool.

    Congratulations Marc.

    • brs027 - Apr 25, 2013 at 8:46 PM

      he has a reason to be angry. he’s trying to go down as the best ever. you have to understand how competitive these guys are. it’s something to respect. i’m a knicks fan and i’m even willing to admit lebron should have won.

    • fanofevilempire - Apr 26, 2013 at 6:41 AM

      thanks for the recap.

  2. 00maltliquor - Apr 25, 2013 at 8:23 PM

    LeBron got robbed. Advanced statistics my butt.

  3. mgscott - Apr 25, 2013 at 8:28 PM

    Hopefully lebron doesn’t lose any hair over this

    • psung26 - Apr 25, 2013 at 8:30 PM

      LeBron on his hairline:

      “It’s over with now, but that’s cool”


    • michaeljordanseviltwin - Apr 25, 2013 at 11:01 PM

      You guys should focus on Deron Williams’ hairline. Worst/best comb-over I’ve ever seen in basketball.

      • jimmymarlinsfan - Apr 25, 2013 at 11:55 PM

        Worse than Jeff van Gundy circa 98? I don’t know………

      • michaeljordanseviltwin - Apr 26, 2013 at 2:28 PM

        JVG’s was pretty bad but I never saw it in HD; that’s why Boozer’s weird head spray and Deron Williams’ comb over seem so bad now.

  4. acdc363 - Apr 25, 2013 at 8:41 PM

    LOL @ above comments!!

  5. hickoryhigh - Apr 25, 2013 at 9:14 PM

    “I don’t know if there’s one player in NBA history who’s guarded one through five (positions).”

    LeBron, as an historian of the game, you’ll find this interesting. There was once a player who did, indeed cover all five positions. In fact, he played all five on offense as well. He is an obscure 80’s player named Earvin Johnson. You might remember him from being named NBA Finals MVP as a rookie, or because he won championships in high school, college and the pros. Or because he’s a five time NBA Champion and three time league MVP and three time NBA Finals MVP. Or because he defeated HIV and has become as successful off the court as he was on it – he’s worth half a billion dollars and that’s without mega NBA contracts or shoe endorsements.

    Believe it or not, LeBron, there were great players in this game before you.

    • jacksonkane - Apr 25, 2013 at 11:03 PM

      He guarded centers? I don’t seem to remember that.

      • hickoryhigh - Apr 26, 2013 at 9:20 AM

        Here’s a Wikipedia link for the 1980 NBA Finals:

    • jimmymarlinsfan - Apr 25, 2013 at 11:57 PM

      Earvin rarely guarded guys his height and above. I’m sorry but your comment was one big ego trip to yourself

      • hickoryhigh - Apr 26, 2013 at 9:17 AM

        And how often does LeBron guard guys bigger than him? What’s your point? My point is that Magic played all 5 positions, as a rookie, in the NBA Finals. Look, LeBron’s an athletic freak and a great basketball player, but so was Wilt and so was Magic (not a Laker fan, those two just come to mind). And an ego trip to myself? What does that even mean? Pointing out that there were previous phenomenal basketball players is about MY ego?

      • bougin89 - Apr 26, 2013 at 10:55 AM

        I have to second hickoryhigh’s comment. Lebron doesn’t guard true big men. Not that he should have to but he doesn’t. When he says he guards everyone on the floor it’s just not true.

        Also, Lebron questions whether he is the only guy that ever has had to do this which is baffling.

        He is now in the territory of what Ron Artest/Shawn Marion used to be as defendrs yet he talks about it like he’s some sort of pioneer…

    • odbj - Apr 26, 2013 at 1:06 AM

      Oh, cool. Because I’m sure LBJ doesn’t know who Magic Johnson is.

      • gmsingh - Apr 26, 2013 at 8:32 AM

        I’m not even sure if LeBron knows who LBJ was.

    • jt1138 - Apr 26, 2013 at 11:38 AM

      Somebody’s mad about LeBron being good!

      But seriously, playing and guarding all 5 positions are 2 different things. If I recall, Magic couldn’t defend the 5 for his life.

  6. andrewj901 - Apr 25, 2013 at 9:20 PM

    Has there ever been this much trash talking by players about a DPOY winner ever? Manu, K. Perkins, LeBron…

    Let Gasol have his moment!

  7. twreck13 - Apr 25, 2013 at 9:56 PM

    I’m a mavs fan and no Lebron lover, but his comment about finishing second/taking a jab at durant made me laugh hard

    • gmsingh - Apr 26, 2013 at 8:34 AM

      Maybe he thinks he can be the offensive player of the year by being the most offensive.

  8. bougin89 - Apr 25, 2013 at 10:04 PM

    Lebron is a good defender but he didn’t deserve defensive player of the year. He doesn’t guard all five positions…at least not well. When has he ever successfully guarded a true big man over the course of a game? Did he ever match up on Tim Duncan all game? Did he ever matchup on Dwight Howard all game? Marc Gasol? etc…

    My point isn’t to discredit Lebron. It is to discredit the theory he guards all 5 positions well. He is a great help defender and a good on ball defender. He doesn’t guard true big man well but that shouldn’t discount his defensive ability, it just means he hasn’t been asked to match up on true big men(so how can he say he has guarded all five positions?).

  9. melkipershero - Apr 25, 2013 at 10:10 PM

    As a Lebron fan when he says things like this I cringe.

    • bougin89 - Apr 25, 2013 at 10:35 PM

      Exactly. Kind of(I’m only a fan of Lebron’s because I enjoy watching the best basketball player in this generation).

      • melkipershero - Apr 25, 2013 at 10:39 PM

        Ive always said im a fan of his game, and not his personality. Do love how hes never in trouble though

    • fanofthegame79 - Apr 26, 2013 at 10:04 AM

      Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. If he were to have been asked about this and he said “no, I don’t need defensive player of the year awards…” then people would have said he lacks the killer instinct of something stupid like that. As the best player in the league, you want to hear him say this kind of stuff. Just like Rondo came out at the beginning of the season and said he was the best point guard. Not true, however, you have to like the confidence and passion.

  10. thenew013 - Apr 25, 2013 at 10:20 PM

    dude everyone in their right mind says you are the best player on the planet and if it came down to u or mark nine and 3 quarters out of ten people would take u. is that not enough?

  11. northstarnic - Apr 25, 2013 at 10:26 PM

    Lebeyatch and his sour grapes are comical. Team first… not in Miami. But this is the NBA, so what else can be expected. Go anyone but the heat!

    • jimmymarlinsfan - Apr 26, 2013 at 12:00 AM

      You live a disappointing life don’t you?

  12. northstarnic - Apr 25, 2013 at 10:28 PM

    Lebald lol! Love it

  13. savvybynature - Apr 25, 2013 at 10:32 PM

    I’ve never seen Lebron assigned to guard a true center for a game. He needs to not buy into his own hype so much.

    I don’t have a problem with his comments, but a congrats to Marc Gasol/some acknowlegement that he is also a great defender would have been classy.

  14. northstarnic - Apr 25, 2013 at 10:33 PM

    MeBron just can’t hide his true colors. In his mind it’s all about him. The team is just there to facilitate his success, not the other way around. My name is MeBron and I am not a star, I’m the sun!

    • melkipershero - Apr 25, 2013 at 10:40 PM

      In his defense to pass MJ he needs at least 1. However, agreed other than its his team no doubt.

    • savvybynature - Apr 26, 2013 at 10:24 AM

      Also in his defense, the sun is a star.

  15. northstarnic - Apr 25, 2013 at 10:34 PM

    Go ANYONE but the Heat!

    • jimmymarlinsfan - Apr 26, 2013 at 12:01 AM

      Go Heat!

  16. DonRSD - Apr 25, 2013 at 11:02 PM

    He deserved DPOY& MVP.
    Media won’t give him both because they still want to hail MJ as the GOAT.

    Get over it, LBJ is the GOAT and we are all witnessing history.


    • psung26 - Apr 25, 2013 at 11:18 PM

      Intelligence further shattered

  17. brotherlove2012 - Apr 25, 2013 at 11:07 PM

    Don RSD … You must be trollin’ … You must be … The GOAT Lebron? I don’t think so … Not yet … Maybe later but not yet.

  18. glink123 - Apr 25, 2013 at 11:27 PM

    How did Kobe not win the DPOY award? He held Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol, and Steve Nash virtually scoreless night after night, for most of the season, all by himself.

    • melkipershero - Apr 25, 2013 at 11:39 PM


    • jimmymarlinsfan - Apr 26, 2013 at 12:02 AM

      Best comment thus far

    • skids003 - Apr 26, 2013 at 9:11 AM

      Great comment!! He also finished second to Kobe for the Ego of the Year Award….

  19. jaerba - Apr 26, 2013 at 12:25 AM

    Meh. I think Lebron can be the best defender in the league but much like the rest of the Heat this season, it’s a switch for him and he wasn’t as consistent about it as Marc was.

  20. lakerwoman - Apr 26, 2013 at 12:38 AM

    Congrats to Marc !!!

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