Most basketball fans know LeBron James as a big-time jerk who should probably just quit life and live in a cabin in the woods where he can't bother anyone. However, he has feelings, and can be prone to express them in public forums. I know, I wish he wouldn't do so, either, but the bad thing about empathy is that you have to assume that even mean people's emotions should be respected. What a racket.
Keep these concepts in mind as you read the following story. According to LeBron, the week after last season's Finals loss to the Mavericks was the worst time of his life. From an interview with HoopsHype (via PBT):
How was the week following the defeat at the Finals?
LJ: It was the worst week I ever had. I hate losing.
What did you do?
LJ: I did nothing. Nothing at all.
Throughout the Finals, LeBron received criticism for shirking from the limelight and not seizing the moment. His response here proves that while he may have ultimately failed, it wasn't for lack of caring. There's a difference between being engaged and just not handling pressure, and LeBron seems to fall into the latter category.
It's reasonably clear at this point that most people will only welcome James back into their good graces when he wins a championship. But interviews like this one show that, no matter how disappointing LeBron gets as a player (if a player who puts up the best stats in the league can be termed as such), he's still a person with legitimate responses to these events. Failure doesn't just brush off his shoulder -- he carries it with pain.
The image of James sulking around a palatial estate as his pet great white sharks wonder when they'll be fed again is not a positive one. There's no need to revel in the man's misfortune. Like anyone else, he's a human being who gets depressed after screwing up. Maybe we should try to identify with that instead of rejecting it.
- LeBron James