MIAMI – Rarely has one designer sweater caused as much discussion as the one LeBron James wore in his postgame session with the assembled media Sunday night.
Only in his world could his wardrobe choice garner just as much attention, if not more, than his near triple double in the Heat’s 110-87 Game 1 win over the Milwaukee Bucks.
But it’s like those T-shirts on every seat at AmericanAirlines Arena said, “Witness Miami.” And this city is bearing witness to the twisted fishbowl that becomes of anything associated with James.
You can debate it all you want … the color of the sweater, whether or not it was appropriate in South Florida this time of year and if James made should have gone with a vest instead of one with sleeves. Just don’t ask James to give it a second thought, because he’s done sweating the drama that used to consume him this time of year (LeBron’s elbow ring a bell?).
Dwyane Wade gave the sweater “two thumbs up” and praised James for having a fashion sense that older teammates like Ray Allen and Shane Battier, who had some fun joking about the sweater, should envy.
“I liked the whole combination,” Wade said. “Bravo. Bravo. I give him two thumps up on his outfit last night.”
Jeff Staple, the founder of Staple Design, loved seeing James “wearing him” on such a big stage. And took to Twitter to thank the Heat’s resident fashion hound for the free advertising.
James said he had no idea of the frenzy his attire caused until he was informed of it at the end of Monday’s practice, when his sweater generated more buzz than his game.
“What’s the big story about it?” he said when asked what led him to that particular choice. “I don’t know, it was just how I was feeling. It’s just fashion. Nothing more, nothing less.”
It’s never that simple for an athlete whose every move, on and off the floor, inspires non-stop discussion. He took just 11 shots in that Game 1 win over the Bucks, a career playoff low, but still managed game highs in points (27), rebounds (10) and assists (eight). Two years ago, when the Heat failed to win a championship, a performance like that might have caused an uproar.
But now that he’s won a championship and the narrative has changed, purists praise James for being the embodiment of efficiency. It’s a drama shift James said he refuses to entertain these days.
“I don’t know, I don’t really … the difference between the past and now is that I really don’t pay too much attention to it,” James said. “I really don’t hear it. I’m so far removed from what’s being said. It’s like this thing about the sweater, until now, I don’t know about what people are saying. I don’t really get involved. I just play my game and do the things I do on the court. It doesn’t amuse me, it doesn’t do anything because I really don’t hear it until I see you guys.”