Cleveland Cavaliers

2011 NBA Playoffs: LeBron's Defeat of Celtics No Vindication for "The Decision"

MIAMI, FL - MAY 11:  LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat looks on after winning Game Five of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2011 NBA Playoffs against the Boston Celtics at American Airlines Arena on May 11, 2011 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
Sam TothContributor IIIMay 12, 2011

"The way it panned out with all the friends and family and fans back home, I apologize for the way it happened. But this was an opportunity of lifetime." - LeBron James

That apology is crap. Like Water For Elephants type of crap. Or if it had a sequel with the working title Enema For Elephants. Just loads of crap on a whole bunch of levels.

LeBron James knew what he did was wrong, only he waited until after he felt his decision was vindicated to admit it. That's not a sincere apology, it's a subtle pat on his own back: "Hey everyone, I'm sorry for kind of being a jerk this summer...even though you gotta admit I was totally right in the end." That press conference should get retweeted by Humblebrag.

One slight problem: any feelings of vindication regarding his decision are entirely unwarranted.

Let's think about why the Miami Heat won this series. James—finally—beat the Celtics due in large part to each of the following:

  • A real elbow problem: Rajon Rondo did not have a good series to start, then had about no chance to regroup after dislocating his elbow. Yes, another elbow injury in a Boston-LeBron series. Only this time, there is a gruesome instant replay to go along with team doctors giving an actual diagnosis and having to reset the limb. Unlike last year where the only proof was, more or less, "Of course it hurts! Remember when I shot that free throw lefty?"

  • No Perk: The biggest weakness of this Miami Heat team is its city's insulting inability to FAN-UP. The second biggest weakness of its team is that it has an interior presence soft enough to meet the approval of the Charmin Bear. Kendrick Perkins might not be the most skilled player on any team, but he is tough enough to make Chris Bosh stick his head in the ground like the ostrich he is.

  • Grumpy old men: Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen are 33, 34 and 35 years old, respectively. Another key role player that was able to return for this series was the 39-year-old Shaquille O'Neal. I'd be reluctant to roll with that age group in pick up basketball. Are we really surprised they ran out of gas in the NBA Playoffs?

"As much as I loved my teammates back in Cleveland, as much as I loved home, I knew I couldn’t do it by myself against that team.”

LeBron is wrongly convinced that his decision to take his talents to South Beach is finally justified for once-and-for-all defeating those inner-demons suited in green and white jerseys. The fact remains that a 26-year-old James was going to eventually dethrone a bunch of players in their mid-30's.

The passing of that torch was simply inevitable—no matter where he decided to take his talents. There is no doubt that a driven James on the Cavaliers could have beaten the Celtics this year, even last year (remember, the key word is "driven").

He should not continue to try to hide behind this victory as validation for his decision, for it is a veil thinner than Rashard Mendenhall's think-before-you-tweet window.

Next time LeBron James attempts to "apologize," I hope he is honest about why he moved ("I wanted to live in South Beach, play with my friends and have them help take the load off my responsibility to win") and offers sincere regret for some of his actions (leaving the Cavaliers with no time to formulate a Plan B, embarrassing a city that loved him on national TV, not giving his full effort in the 2010 NBA Playoffs, etc.)

Essentially, I want more humble, less brag.

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