Despite what had been a super-human effort from Jimmy Butler on the night, the Lakers had a chance to close out their 17th NBA championship in Game 5. Down one with time running out, LeBron James drove past Butler, drew three defenders, and made the right basketball play, kicking out a pass to a wide-open Danny Green at the top of the key for a potential championship-winning three. Green missed the shot. Miami won.
While the Lakers went on to win the title two nights later, Green and his fiance faced death threats after the missed shot. There were calls from other Lakers fans to trade him or not give Green his share of the championship money.
“You know human nature of fans, they’re just very emotional. They take the game very serious and they see us as performers and if we’re not performing the way we’re supposed to then we’re supposed to apologize for it. No, I don’t owe you an apology. Whether I played sh**** or not. You’re not my boss, coach, and I’m not gonna apologize for missing shots. I’ll apologize to my teammates for missed mistakes, missed assignments, if I mess up a play or defensively don’t make a rotation. But no, I don’t owe you anything.”
Sorry Lakers’ fans: He’s right. He doesn’t owe you anything. Fans have every right to be frustrated with his play in the Finals or think the Lakers should trade him this summer, but to use a cliche, it’s a make-or-miss league and sometimes you miss. As LeBron said multiple times (after this game and throughout the season), you make the best play you can and live with the result. LeBron made the right play, Green would love to have that shot back, but it happens. Sometimes the shot doesn’t go in.
Green now has three rings (the first came with the San Antonio in 2014, then with Toronto in 2019), he knows what it takes on the biggest stage. He’s not going to lose sleep over the missed shot, neither should Lakers fans.
It’s time to move on and enjoy the title. That’s what matters.