Wednesday night, prior to the matchup between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Miami Heat, LeBron James was busy speaking with reporters about the highly-anticipated contest. James was asked about his thoughts on Kevin Durant’s passing ability and how it has grown since he’s entered the league.
“I actually think that’s a pretty funny thing when people say ‘people’s growth of passing the ball.’ That is retarded to me,” James said, according to the Palm Beach Post. “Kevin Durant’s growth of being a passer? That’s part of basketball.”
After the game, in which James and the Heat were dismantled by the Russell Westbrook-less Thunder, he opened his press conference with an apology without even being asked.
“I used the word retarded before,” James said, according to the Sun Sentinel. “Obviously, it had nothing to do with kids that are underprivileged. There’s no knock on them. It’s a word that’s been around for a long time where I grew. It’s a bad habit, so I try to break it. If I use it again, I’m going to try to do my best not to. I mean no disrespect.”
Knowing he’s a professional and a four-time MVP with cameras on him 24/7, James made the right call to open his press conference in such a mature manner. I’m sure we can all attest to the fact that the word is used commonly nowadays — though it shouldn’t be — and James was caught in an old habit.
For him to come out and address the issue promptly, with no push from reporters, is a fantastic sign and should keep his image intact. Though that term is a sensitive one and should never be used in most contexts, James knew he was in the wrong and I commend him for that.