LeBron James is a hard man to like, but an easy man to respect.
Even Cavaliers fans burned his jersey after “The Decision.” Even his staunchest supporters have probably wavered at one point or another. You’re rooting for him. But before long, you see he wrote himself a congratulatory note on Instagram about collecting a record he hadn’t actually collected yet.
When LeBron fielded a question during a press conference after Game 1, he gave the world another reason to revere him — and hate him.
The question was harmless: What happened to open the fourth quarter?
LeBron’s play-by-play was spot on — with one minor exception. LeBron said the Cavaliers “missed a shot” before Jayson Tatum’s eurostep and bucket. But alas, LeBron actually made an errant pass, and Tatum logged a steal on the play. Convenient misremembering. Here’s a look at the play-by-play sheet.
The fact that LeBron can remember those moments with such precision is impressive, likely because he recognized just how important that one-minute span was during the course of the game. But of course, it was one of the 60 minutes in the game (which took almost three hours in real-life time to finish). It was an impressive display of recall by LeBron.
But by flexing his intelligence, LeBron is also playing dumb. He knows what the reporter was really asking — he just didn’t feel like playing along like he normally does. He was fresh off a brutal loss when he tied a personal playoff record low at minus-32. So he sassed a reporter, and capped off his answer with a smug smile.
Was the degree of recalled detail impressive, just like so many of his dunks, passes and 3-point shots? Yes. Was it obnoxious, just like when he made “The Decision” or when he delivered a truly self-centered speech in 2014? Yes.
Was this answer LeBron being LeBron? Absolutely.