Coral Gables, Fla. — Remember that “hit list” LeBron James was supposedly keeping? The one he posted on Twitter, saying he’d remember each and every knock he took this summer, and those who delivered them?
Well, maybe on his way to taking his “talents” to South Beach, LeBron traveled the high road, because any anger he felt from the backlash was suspiciously missing on media day.
He had nothing for Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson who, in so many words, chastised LeBron for taking the easier way to a championship. And nothing for Charles Barkley, either, even though Charles used edgier words to describe the way LeBron left Cleveland.
“I’ve heard everything this summer,” he said. “Things I expected. Some I didn’t expect. Well, I make my own decisions and live with them. I still respect Mike, still respect Magic, Charles and the rest. They paved the way for guys like myself, on and off the court.
“But I can’t live through those guys. This is the path I chose to go.”
Agreed. While the greats certainly made their points about competition and wanting to beat the best, rather than join the best, there’s also another way to see LeBron’s choice to align himself with Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade. How many of those same players would bury their ego in this manner and give up being the focal point of their team? Also, it’s easy for Magic (and Larry Bird) to say what they wouldn’t do; they were surrounded by talent much of their careers. So there was no need for Magic to ponder being Bird’s teammate, or vice versa. They weren’t pressed for championships; they already have rings. LeBron doesn’t.
“It’s funny how things happen and how people react to it,” LeBron said. “A lot of people try to tell you what to do with your life and they don’t even have their own life in order. That’s funny to me.”
If LeBron is simmering underneath from the treatment he took, going from a respected and generally adored athlete to something more sinister, it’s well hidden under his tattoos. And maybe we’ll have to wait until next June — assuming Miami wins it all — for him to flush it out.
“I’ve got a lot of motivation inside me,” he said. “Put it that way.”
Watch the Heat’s first preseason game, Tuesday at 7 p.m. on NBA TV.