Heat star mocked since being forced to leave Game 1 with cramp.
Miami Heat star LeBron James believes that he is the “easiest target” in sports but knows he can’t play basketball thinking about what other people expect of him.
James has suffered from a backlash after he was forced to leave Game 1 of the NBA Finals 2014 against the San Antonio Spurs with cramp.
With their star on the bench, the Heat struggled down the stretch and saw the Spurs cut them adrift to win a vital first game, and James has inevitably been mocked by fans since.
“I know I’m the easiest target that we have in sports, I’m aware of it,” James said in an interview with ESPN’s Michael Wilbon on Friday.
“I really am. I believe it.”
Since entering the league in 2003, James has been in the spotlight for various reasons after being billed as the next best thing coming out of college.
After years of struggle to secure his first NBA championship, his move to Miami irked many but ultimately by winning back-to-back titles in the last two seasons, the 29-year-old has begun to silence some of his critics with his success.
However, at the smallest hint of a struggle, James is back at the forefront of being scrutinised, but he insists that he doesn’t let that effect him any more.
“I can’t play the game of basketball and live my life on what other people expect me to do or what they think I should do, that doesn’t make me happy,” James said.
“What makes me happy is being able to make plays for my teammates, to be able to represent the name on the back of my jersey. That’s what makes me happy. What everybody else thinks? That doesn’t really matter to me.”
Miami will hope that there are no repeat performances of the faulty air-conditioning that blighted Game 1, with the second encounter set for Sunday night.