LeBron James‘ eighth straight NBA Finals appearance ended in defeat on Monday night. Kevin Durant and the Golden State Warriors were too much to handle the third straight time the teams met in the Finals.
While the Cleveland Cavaliers fell prey to a super team that lost a year earlier and went out and added Kevin Durant, James was honest with reporters afterward, saying he had nothing to be ashamed of after a dazzling 5-game performance.
Perhaps the most interesting answer of the 12-minute press conference came when James was asked about “super teams” like the one the Warriors assembled this season. The reporter implied that James has been a part of two super teams in his career—his time in Miami with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh and when he returned to Cleveland to play with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. He then asked if he’s in favor of “super teams” now that he’s lost to the Warriors
But James dismissed the idea that he’s played on a super team at all.
I don’t believe I’ve played for a super team. I don’t believe in that. I don’t believe we’re a super team here. So no.
In fact, James spoke much more about his own performance in the Finals than his teammates, lamenting the injuries that kept the team from playing together until late in the season. His postgame comments were specific to his own performance.
“I’ve always told myself if you feel like you put in the work, you leave it on the floor, you can always push forward and not look backwards,” James said.
“I have no reason to put my head down I have no reason to look back at what I could have done or should have done or what I could have done better for the team. I left everything I had on the floor for five games of this Finals and you come up short.”
James often stressed he “personally” left everything he had on the floor, which some took as a significant slight to his teammates.
Whether that’s a sign of trouble in Cleveland or mere frustration after a loss is perhaps up for debate, but this LeBron James was very different than the one the media saw two years ago after Cleveland’s first Finals loss to Golden State. As noted by a reporter at the start of the conference, that James spent 45 minutes in the locker room fuming before he spoke to reporters.