Call LeBron James whatever you want, just don't call him a coach killer.
The Cavaliers superstar met with the media Wednesday and addressed rumors and innuendo that he was the driving force behind last week's firing of David Blatt and the man who personally picked Tyronn Lue as his replacement.
According to ESPN, James said he's always "respected" his coaches and that the idea he's pulling all the strings behind the scenes in Cleveland is a fairy tale.
"It sucks," James said. "But what can I do about it? I've never, in my time since I picked up a basketball, ever undermined a coach, ever disrespected a coach. You ask any of my little league coaches, my high school coaches, coaches I've played for in tournaments, camps, my NBA coaches. I've always respected what they wanted to do. And I'm not the owner of a team, I'm not the GM of a team. I'm the player of a team.
"People get it so misconstrued because I'm a smart basketball player and I've voiced my opinion about certain things, which I did when I was here my first stint with Paul Silas and Mike Brown. Which I did in Miami with Coach Spo [Erik Spoelstra]. Which I did with Blatt and I'll do with T-Lue. And at the end of the day, they'll still have their final call."
James' misgivings with Blatt were anything but a secret so his dismissal last week, despite an 83-40 record over a season and a half, wasn't completely shocking to NBA fans. While the four-time MVP wants everyone to know that he's not calling all the shots in Cleveland, it doesn't mean he won't speak up to his teammates.
"I don't know," James said. "What do you guys want me to do, turn my brain off because I have a huge basketball IQ? If that's what they want me to do, I'm not going to do it because I've got so much to give to the game. There's no difference for me telling my teammates or telling guys how to get better with their game. If I feel I got something that will help our team, ultimately, I like to give it. It helped me get two titles. So, but I think it does suck that people want to throw my name in dirt for no particular reason, because of speculation or whatever the case may be. But you can't worry about it too much. I got 14 guys here. I got a fan base here and a fan base all over the world that loves what I do, and they respect what I do, and I can't worry about a select group of people that wants to use their negative energy to take away my positive energy. I can't allow that to happen."
Can we let LeBron live?
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