CLEVELAND -- LeBron James is certainly no stranger to criticism. He is competing in his seventh consecutive NBA Finals, his eighth overall. He has won three NBA championships and is the career playoff scoring leader. Still, there's a sense that he can never do enough. A day after the Cavaliers' 118-113 loss to the Warriors in Game Three, he was still answering questions about passing up a shot with the Cavs leading by two with 53 seconds left.
James drove and kicked to Kyle Korver, who missed a three-pointer from the left corner. Kevin Durant hit a go-ahead three-pointer on Golden State's ensuing possession and the Cavs never scored again. James was asked what he would say to critics -- which seemed to include his coach, Tyronn Lue -- who said he should have taken the shot himself.
"I don't know if you've been here for the last couple years or heard me talk," James said. "I don't even really care. I had 101 drives last night. I don't have 101, but you get the gist of it. I'm sorry I didn't go for 102. But at the end of the day, I don't really -- what is a critic? It doesn't matter.
"One of my favorite quotes, when I really stopped caring about what people say, is Theodore Roosevelt. The Man In The Arena. So if you read that, you'll see where I'm at right now in my life. It doesn't matter to me."
James latched onto the former President's quote around the time he made his controversial decision to leave Cleveland for Miami seven years. He posted it at his locker. Here's the Teddy Roosevelt quote:
“It's not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or when the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who at the worst if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”
So if he could have the play over again, would he still make the same pass?
"If I could have the play over again, I would come off a three-screen situation," James said. "Draymond (Green) would switch on me with five fouls. I would get him leaning. I would drive left. I would see K.D. (Kevin Durant) step up. I would see Stephen Curry drop on Kevin. And I would see Kyle Korver in the corner, one of the greatest three-point shooters in this league's history, and give him an opportunity in the short corner. I would do the same exact thing."
Just to be clear, this is the response from a man who doesn't care what people think.