It’s not unusual for a superstar to yell at a teammate on the sidelines. However, it’s extremely rare to see a superstar admit he was wrong for yelling at a teammate.
LeBron James admitted he lost his cool when he aggressively went after Mario Chalmers during a timeout. James was caught by ESPN cameras rushing at Chalmers and both players had to be separated. The argument was triggered by a blown defensive assignment on Paul George during the third quarter of the Heat-Pacers game. James rode Chalmers hard during a break in the action, which is nothing new because Chalmers is the Heat’s unofficial whipping boy — mostly hearing it from James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh the last four seasons.
But Chalmers fired back at James during their war of words, and that’s when The King snapped and uncharacteristically lost his cool. Once things settled down, LeBron seemed apologetic about the whole situation. If you read his lips, he said, “Rio. I was wrong. My bad.”
Immediately after the Heat defeated the Pacers, 97-94, LeBron took to Twitter to issue a public apology to Chalmers.
It takes a big man to say he was wrong, and LeBron earned a lot of respect for what he did. Too many athletes today like to dish blame but don’t like it when they’re getting criticized. The James-Chalmers sideline spat could have escalated to something much worse, but LeBron immediately squashed it by admitting his mistake. A sign of a true leader.
You could sense the Heat-Pacers game Wednesday had a playoff-like intensity. It was no ordinary game. In fact, if it were an ordinary game LeBron would definitely sit out and rest his bum ankle.
But this was Heat vs. Pacers, round 2. A rematch of the 2013 Eastern Conference finals that went seven games and a preview of the 2014 Eastern Conference finals. The way the East is unfolding (or folding), the Heat and the Pacers have a free pass until May when they’ll likely see each other with an NBA Finals berth on the line.
James wasn’t about to miss one of the most important regular-season games for the Heat. Indiana won the first meeting, now Miami returned the favor by winning the second game behind a huge second-half surge that erased a 15-point Pacers lead. Round 3 is in March in Indiana. To borrow a quote from former Jets linebacker Bart Scott, “Can’t wait!”
Joel Huerto is editor and publisher of OneManFastBreak.net. Follow him on Twitter @onemanfastbreak.