Jun 19, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat small forward LeBron James (6) is helped off the court after an injury during the fourth quarter in game four in the 2012 NBA Finals against the Oklahoma City Thunder at the American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE

LeBron's Legacy: Keep Your Mouth Shut Part II

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Sometimes I don’t understand what goes through the mind of LeBron James. After Serge Ibaka submitted his two cents on what he thinks of LeBron James as a defender, James just couldn’t let it slide. Why should James even care what his opponents have to say about his defense when he was just awarded with his fourth consecutive spot on the NBA All-Defensive First Team?

Jun 19 2012; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat small forward LeBron James (6) is defended by Oklahoma City Thunder small forward Kevin Durant (35) during the first quarter of game four in the 2012 NBA Finals at the American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

If LeBron wants to be considered one of the greatest players of all times, he has to know how to use criticism aimed at him to his advantage. He has to know when to not say things like this:

I don’t really care what he says, he’s stupid. Everyone says something to me every series, then (the media) tries to get a quote. It’s stupid.

Talk about contradicting yourself in the same statement. The media definitely got their quote when LeBron called another player stupid. NBA legends in the past have used criticism like Ibaka’s of LeBron’s defensive play to fuel their game. By not saying anything at all and going onto the court and proving those players wrong by putting up historic numbers is how NBA greats become NBA legends. Instead James once again made a childish decision by acknowledging a childish jab that Ibaka took at him.

Ibaka, also a member of the NBA All-Defensive First Team, said on Monday that he was not impressed with James’ defensive play on the court and that he was “not a good defender” and that “he can play defense for two or three minutes but not for 48 minutes.”  Ibaka could be hinting at the fact that Durant is averaging 31 points through the first three games of the series and that most of the time LeBron is covering Durant, but he should have kept his comments to himself.

As for Game 4, I don’t know what they whole cramping thing was about, but coming off the bench after screaming profanities as if his Achilles tendon had just teared and then hitting one of the biggest three-point shots of his career (not as clutch as his game-winner against the Orlando Magic in Game 2, but you get the point) is about as dramatic as LeBron can get.

Call it acting when he stands in the middle of the court after the Heat took a time out, but win or lose James needs to realize that he doesn’t always need to bring attention to himself. The media will be following every word he says, every tweet he sends and every play he makes for the rest of his career, so he has to grow up and get used to it eventually.

Up 3-1 with the next game at home, LeBron James and the Heat find themselves in great position on Thursday night to close out the series in Miami. Try not to do anything stupid in the meantime, Bron.

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Tags: Lebron James Miami Heat NBA Finals Oklahoma City Thunder Serge Ibaka

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