After a win in Orlando where Kevin Love was benched for the entire fourth quarter and LeBron James singlehandedly outscored the Magic in the game’s final 12 minutes, a mini-outrage emerged in response to one of LeBron’s post-game remarks.
Orlando’s Tobias Harris engaged in some trash talk with James, which ultimately motivated LeBron to flip the switch after a passive first half.
“It wasn’t the shoulder or the elbow, it was the words that he said that got me going,” James said afterward. “I was actually in chill mode tonight but chill mode was deactivated after that.”
Cavaliers fans obviously took that the wrong way, and chose to interpret the comment as LeBron cruising instead of giving the maximum effort they expect. James attempted to clarify the meaning behind it in an interview with Chris Haynes of Cleveland.com:
“It had absolutely nothing to do with me not giving my all,” James told NEOMG. “I just took it to another level.” …
“It was the second game of a back-to-back and I was just feeling the game out like I always do,” James said to NEOMG. “Kevin [Love] had it going, so there was no need to force anything.
“I just went off [offensively] after that [altercation]. It had nothing to do with me not playing hard. I’m always leaving it out on the floor. I approach each game differently and adjust accordingly throughout the game. That’s what happened.”
Everything James says is scrutinized, sometimes to ridiculous extremes.
With the Cavaliers off to a slower than expected start to the season, it isn’t surprising that the team’s fans went in on LeBron for what they perceived to be an admission of a lack of effort. While that obviously wasn’t the case, James needs to be smarter about the way he phrases things to avoid having comments like these needlessly taken out of context.