According to the big man, tossing his teammates under the Pacers bus as it careened off a cliff might not have been the best idea.
"I think that I should've kept my frustrations to myself or just in the locker room," Hibbert said during an appearance on ESPN First Take (via ESPN.com). "I will admit that it wasn't the best thing to do. I'll learn from that, and I was wrong."
I suppose he deserves some credit for looking in the mirror, even if the rest of us have been cringing since his first criticism hit the printing press. Second chances are never on short supply in the sports world.
Hibbert's initial cringe-worthy comments were nothing short of reckless. He blindly dubbed some locker room mates as "some selfish dudes," via NBA.com's David Aldridge, and never bothered putting a face to those nameless players. Whatever he was trying to accomplish didn't work—the Pacers were out of sorts before his media-aided attack, and they've yet to find their form.
What makes this tale even more troubling is the fact Hibbert has played as big a role as anyone in Indiana's slide from nearly invincible (46-13 through Mar. 2) to uncomfortably vulnerable (10-13 since). The 27-year-old made the second All-Star appearance of his career in February, but he seems to move further from that lofty status with each passing day.
|Roy Hibbert's Monthly Slide in 2014|
|Month||PPG||FG%||RPG||Off Rtg||Def Rtg|
He could leave these face-palming narratives behind him if he can find his form in the second season. If this is the Hibbert the Pacers are getting for their playoff run, though, Indiana is on a crash course with disaster.
"A regular-season slump is one thing," Bob Kravitz of The Indianapolis Star wrote. "It just can't continue in the postseason, or the Pacers, who are capable of reaching the NBA Finals or getting popped in the first round, will be in deep trouble."
Owning up to his mistake, even one as mindless as this was, is a start. Not everyone is willing to take that step.
This isn't the last stop on the road to forgiveness, though. Hibbert needs to back up these words with actions, not simply by avoiding a repeat media mistake but also by setting a standard with his on-court performance.
A standard Hibbert hasn't lived up to for quite some time. But just as this admission showed, a late arrival is so much better than completely missing the festivities.