The glare of the spotlight has shifted to other players so far as the Association goes through its accelerated training camp and exhibition season; however according to Miami Heat All-Star forward LeBron James the competitive fire within is still burning as hot as ever before. The Heat came close to accomplishing their goal last season, as they made the NBA Finals but lost to the Dallas Mavericks. The “Miami Herald” is reporting that the former NBA MVP feels his mission is clear for the upcoming campaign, which starts on Christmas Day as the Heat travel to Dallas to take on the Mavericks. James told reporters “We didn’t come together to win a playoff series. We came together to win the NBA Finals.”
The former leader of the Cleveland Cavaliers told members of the media that he allowed the attention he was getting alter his game and his demeanor last season. The veteran said “I had never put too much pressure on myself, but it was such a different situation last year, going from a guy people liked to a guy people hated, going to a new team, new city, learning a new system. I’m just a lot more comfortable this year. More alive. Back to being myself. After I finally got over the Finals, I asked myself, ‘What got you to this point? The love of the game.’ Last year I said, ‘OK, I’m going to prove everybody wrong.’ I was so blinded and out of whack. You try to do so many things that you forget who you are.”
James has promised himself that he will adopt a new philosophy for the upcoming season. He told the media “I’m not going out there to prove anybody wrong; I’m not asking for forgiveness. I learned from it. I’m back to who I was. The criticism doesn’t bother me anymore. I’m at a good place now. I look at my numbers, and I did OK during the season, but I wasn’t who I was when I started playing basketball at 9. I had to prove myself every day where I grew up. I let my game do the talking.”
James went through an emotional roller-coaster last season; at first he was hurt by the criticism he was receiving after being admired his first seven seasons in the NBA. Then he allowed that hurt to fester until it became resentment and he started acting like a villain in Pro-Wrestling. Hopefully his baptism by fire last season truly did teach him a lesson, and he will dispense with the dramatics that engulfed him last season.