"I would never apologize about anything like that when I'm connecting to my fans," James said
, defending a tweet he sent out after the LA Clippers' Blake Griffin posterized Perkins with a thunderous dunk.
James' tweet seemed fairly innocuous at the time: "Dunk of the Year! @blakegriffin just dunked on Kendrick Perkins so hard!!! Wow! I guess I'm No. 2 now. Move over #6." He was referring to a dunk his own a few days prior, when he leaped over Chicago's John Lucas III to catch a Dwyane Wade alley-oop.
James denied calling Perkins out with the tweet. "Did I call him out?" he asked. "I mean, did you read the tweet? Did I call him out?"
James was not entirely without empathy, adding, "I can see why he felt embarrassed." Still, James made no apology for reacting to "the unbelievable play by Blake," because "that's what it was all about."
James also took the opportunity to let everyone know how he feels about being the top punching bag of the basketball world. He pivoted to comments NBA legend and Indiana Pacers GM Larry Bird made about him and Kobe Bryant earlier that day.
On an ESPN podcast, Bird said that while James is the best player in the NBA, he would rather play with Bryant. James said Bird only feels that way because Bryant "has five rings and I have none so it's easy to say that."
James then gave a unified theory of LeBron hate: "I'm an easy target; if someone wants to get a point across -- just throw LeBron's name in there."
"You could be watching cartoons with your kids and you don't like it, you say, 'Blame it on LeBron.' If you go to the grocery store and they don't have the milk that you like, you just say, 'It's LeBron's fault.'"
Other things blamed on LeBron in the past year: M.I.A. flipping the bird at the Super Bowl halftime show, S&P's downgrade of US debt, Tim Tebow, and the invasion of pythons in the Everglades. If you have to go to traffic court to argue a speeding ticket, just blame LeBron, and the judge will probably let you off (Warning: Joke!)
It's about time James started standing up for himself. Perkins was not too far off when he said James "wants the world to like him." If the past year and a half have proved anything, it's that James is the NBA's biggest villain, whether he likes it or not. He and his Heat teammates don't have to morph into the 1980s Miami Hurricanes or anything like that, but they should at least defend themselves when their critics go overboard.