3 Head-Scratching Things LeBron Said During His Game 6 Post-Game Press Conference

Unless you renounced television or the Internet or Earth on or before June 16, 2015, you probably have at least heard in passing that the Golden State Warriors are the 2015 NBA champions. It was the most appropriate outcome for Dub Nation, culminating a season in which they had the best record all year in the best conference with the regular season's MVP-validated best player in Stephen Curry.

For LeBron James, their win and his loss really and truly sucked in a way that few players have known sucking in the immediate past. James just went to his fifth straight NBA Finals only to lose for a third time in that stretch, with a fourth loss out of six trips overall since 2007. It's a fate none of his contemporaries have had the privilege of meeting.

After the Cleveland Cavaliers loss in Game 5, a "we're still in this thing"-looking LeBron James came to the podium and told the world he was confident in his game because he was "the best player on the planet." After his team lost it all in Game 6, we waited with bated breath to hear what the King had to say and to analyze his body language and speculate regarding his state of mind as he said it.

Most of us remember that time LeBron told us all, after his Finals loss with the Heat to the Dallas Mavericks back in 2011, that we were the ones doomed to go back to our sad, pathetic, little lives that are void of riches and comfort while he would be contemplating that little blip on his radar in the lap of luxury. I'm paraphrasing, of course. More specifically, I'm grossly embellishing. No matter, though, regardless of his exact words, my words above perfectly reflect the way he made us feel that night.

Naturally, slander ensued.

In the time since, James has been a bit more careful, robotic even, in his dealings with the public as presented by the press. That caution is what made his "best player on the planet" statement feel so naughtily liberating. While his post-game presser to end all post-game pressers from this season wasn't as gasp-inducing as the one from two nights earlier or as insulting as the one back in 2011, it wasn't without its low points.

When asked if coming home was all that he hoped it would be, LeBron answered by saying, "Well, my family is happy."

No sir, you are not allowed to trot out your family here to get out of a real answer. This entire year, your "welcome home" narrative has been forced down our throats like cod liver oil.

LeBron's love letter to Cleveland that he penned at the beginning of the year to formally announce his return was full of sappy story lines that he wanted us to embrace, no doubt to help fan the fires of our rooting interest in his direction. I know he had just suffered a devastating loss, but gosh, those talking points should have been so strongly ingrained in him that he could call them up at will. He went home to restore hope and to make a town that "could" into a town that "does." He indicated that he was willing to wear the scars of the city on his back and proposed to inspire the youth of Cleveland to aspire to greater things.

All he managed in his response at the podium, though, was a very minimizing impression that a happy wife (and kids) equals, for the most part, a happy life.

LeBron actually said the words, "We just ran out of talent."

Ouch. What a terrible thing to say about your teammates. He could have said "we ran out of gas" or "we ran out of time." To say we ran out of talent is a very specific distinction to make. And call me sensitive or whatever, but I can't imagine his squad took that well.

Those guys played their hearts out and excelled well beyond what anyone might have guessed they could do. Timofey Mozgov had a friggin' double-double after being benched for almost all of Game 5. Who would have thought? And J.R. Smith hit two big 3-pointers to give them a shot at a nearly possible and very miraculous comeback to force a Game 7. Had there been more time, who knows what might have happened?

But LeBron lamented a different T-word and, in doing so, sent a very strong message to somebody. Maybe to ownership and management to make sure he won't be short on talent again. Maybe he was letting his supporting cast know exactly what he thought of their efforts. Smith, for one, might have though it was the latter. Not long after the game ended, it was reported that he planned to opt out of his final year, so yeah ...

LeBron said he couldn't remember a time a team won the Finals without two All-Stars in the lineup.

Unless LeBron flipped off the switch on all electronic media on or before his first game to start the season in Cleveland, he should have known how much this statement plays into his critics' biggest criticism of him. They say he goes around looking for great players to play with so he can win. Yes, he does do that, but surely no one in the league goes around looking for bad players to play with so they can lose.

To that end, the beef with that is a little unfair and kind of childish. But it's not without merit. Twice now, James has been a part of a super team in leaving Cleveland for South Beach and now back to Cleveland. We probably take so much issue with this kind of a search for a championship because it's foreign to us.

Prior to changes in the NBA collective bargaining agreement that allowed James to strike the type of deal he got in Miami to begin with, we didn't see superstar players go out in search of the Larry O'Brien in this way. They used to get locked in to long, uber-lucrative contracts with desperate organizations and had to sit and wait around until the powers that be found a couple of dollars to try and add some key pieces. Only at the end of their careers, after being labeled as at least a little bit washed up, did they get to sign on with a group of guys that would get them a championship the fastest. As such, they weren't as in charge of their fates.

LeBron has been in control the whole way and has not skimped on the good stuff. So yes, after hoping to enjoy the finest company in Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving at the five-star experience that is the NBA Finals, James had to give them a rain check. It's a tough break for sure, but I don't like my best player on the planet using his last public address of the season to tell us how unfortunate that was for him. He's supposed to say he didn't have those guys, but that's no excuse. He's supposed to say that we put in a valiant effort and came up short. He's supposed to leave all of the "Cavs were shorthanded" headlines to the media. He didn't though, and his overt desire to drive the season-ending narrative as much as he drove the one to start it wasn't a good look at all.

Listen, I know that it isn't easy to be a gracious loser. In fact, that might not even be a real thing. LeBron came to the podium after a heartbreaking loss and stopped well short of reminding us how much better his life was than ours. It's not perfect, but I'll concede that for him, it's good enough.

14 Replies to “3 Head-Scratching Things LeBron Said During His Game 6 Post-Game Press Conference”

  1. You know...I have no problem with any of this. This goes back to a much discussed topic on TSFJ of "What do we want from our athletes?" He kept it absolutely 100. They ran out of talent, plain and simple.

    While watching the Finals, it was clear game after game after game, if one of those guys on his squad could have made ANY CONSISTENT offensive contributions, I feel like it would've made an impact. For as great as the Warriors are and were, the Cavs were right there in many games.

    Plus, I do think it's totally unfair for athletes period to have to go sit on a podium 20 minutes after leaving their heart and soul on the field of play. I get it...journalists have to do their jobs...but still.

    1. You are right. We put these guys in a tough spot. They really are darned if they do, darned if they don't. Thanks for taking time to check it out!

      1. Poor pampered multi-millionaires! They go to ALL that trouble to stuff a ball in a hoop for us and we don't respect them enough! Who gives a f***?

  2. *sigh* how do I say this? I'm as big a "LeBron James hater" as the next guy, simply because I'm a big believer in the underdog. While Golden State had the best record and the MVP on their team, many of us still thought of them as the underdog due to lack of playoff experience and the fact that they were, in fact, facing King James. So trust me, I get the criticism of LJ.

    However, I don't get the over powering need of the media to try to put him in this nice pretty box. The article briefly sympathizes with him being in the mindset of distraught Championship loser, but very briefly. Have you ever lost in an NBA final and then had to hold a press conference immediately after? If not then who are you to say what "He’s supposed to say" or do? You or I can't walk an inch in his shoes so we should really stop badgering the guy. He didn't use profane language, he didn't throw anyone under the bus, he just didn't speak with roses and candys attached to every word. Let the man live!

  3. Here's a "journalist" looking for a shock-but-not-reality piece of rag. At least in the old days, you could use this to line the kitty liter box or wrap fish with and if you're really old enough to pull your pants up, it could've been used to wipe your bum after a session in the outhouse. Talk about someone looking just to defame someone at a cost of integrity to the writer and web site.

  4. haha I see why now. "After doing ... the group think thing..." Now she's doing on Lebron James. She simply can't help herself.

    1. Thank you so much for your feedback and for taking the time to read what I'm guessing you feel is a toilet bowl of words. I don't mean to burden your eyes with more crap to peruse but, I just want to say that this post was in no way about the defaming of LeBron James. Please don't mistake me for the millions of folks that love to hate him. And please don't stop reading The Sports Fan Journal because they made the mistake of hiring me.

      You are appreciated.

    2. LeBron James is the best player on the Planet! I repeat the best player on the Planet but I don't have some Homo erotic obsession with him that exempts him from criticism. When you speak in facts- Facts should be respected! Stop being so emotional! This dude doesn't care about you! Stop being a "captain save a h**"You're lucky she responded to your out right attempt to draw her into a pointless debate! Obviously she doesn't know that you don't mean anything that you say and you just want some attention. Maybe you weren't hugged enough as a child. Who knows? You're pathetic! You're a virus! Where hell is Norton when you need it!
      No one plays basketball ball for me so I can expect what I want and express disappointment in any manner I choose! With that being said Great Piece Rosalyn! Let a troll be a troll! Coward! M10 out!

    1. Thanks for commenting! I agree 100%. He is still maturing. And it's interesting that you mention Kobe because I think he's one of the best in the business at those "I don't give a darn" interviews. He doesn't have the burden of trying to manage his honesty with being liked.

  5. Great Read RR! You are right on point! LeBron wanted this to be a prodigal son story and now he saying that only reason he came back was to keep his family happy. He can't shy away from the story line he created because he is unhappy that once again he is on the losing side of another championship series. The comments he made about us having to go back to our normal lives when his Miami Heat lost to the Dallas Mavericks after being heavily favored were tasteless and immature. Maybe he was feeling exposed because he left Cleveland to play with his Super friends( Dwade and Bosh top 5 players in their own right) and they were trashed by an over the hill Jason Kidd, and center who couldn't hit water if he fell off of boat ( Tyson Chandler). I know Miami didn't run out of talent that but I guess Dirk didn't either.

  6. with Irving and Love injured, Cleveland did run out of talent. I'd have loved to see 2 full rosters play each other. Still don't like LeBron though.

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