MIAMI (Reuters) - LeBron James said he does not care about the legions of people across the country delighted to see him fail to win an NBA championship.
Ever since James bolted the Cleveland Cavaliers last summer to join fellow All-Stars Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade with the Miami Heat, the two-time MVP has been a polarizing figure.
“Absolutely not,” James said when asked if it bothered him that so many people were rooting against him.
“At the end of the day, all the people that was rooting on me to fail, they have to wake up tomorrow and have the same life that they had before they woke up today,” he said.
“They have the same personal problems they had today. I’m going to continue to live the way I want to live and continue to do the things that I want to do with me and my family and be happy with that.”
The Dallas Mavericks defeated the Heat 105-95 on Sunday to claim the best-of-seven NBA Finals 4-2.
James scored 21 points on nine of 15 shooting but scored only 12 after the first period, continuing the series-long trend of being silent during crunch time.
“That doesn’t bother me,” James said of the criticism over his late-game washouts. “I understand this is a huge stage, and you want to perform well for nobody else besides your team mates.
“That’s ultimately what it’s about for me. If I can play well for my team mates, help my team mates win basketball games, then I’m always satisfied with that.
“It hurts me, and I get on myself when I’m not able to play well and help my team mates win.”
James was passive during the fourth quarter of most of the games and denied the on and off-court criticism weighed on his performance.
“I’ve been in this league eight years,” he told reporters. “There’s no distractions that can stop me from trying to chase an NBA championship.
“I work hard to try to put myself in position to play at a high level. When you go out on the court, does the ball always go in? Absolutely not.
“But the one thing I know, I never hold my head low in saying, ‘I didn’t do it the right way or I wish I would have did this.’ It’s not about that.
“I put a lot of hard work into this season. I’ll just use this as an extra motivation to help myself become a better player for next year.”
Editing by Patrick Johnston