I don't blame LeBron James for not shaking hands with any Magic player after losing the Eastern Conference Finals last Saturday.
I don't blame LeBron James for not making himself available to the media.
I don't blame LeBron James for not wanting to talk to anyone after playing his heart out and still losing.
He is still only 24 years old, and he showed it. Plus, throughout his entire career, I don't believe he has ever lost a series he was expected to win. It was a first and it stung. I can't blame him for that.
I can't blame him, but I do have some problems with his post-series behavior.
First, let's say Kobe Bryant had done the same thing. Any Kobe-hater would have been rounding up all of the friends, pitchforks, and torches he or she could find, and they would not rest until the mob was satisfied. There is no denying an act like that would have caused irreparable harm to Kobe.
Second, since he was a junior in high school, LeBron has had to deal with the media. His poise and composure while interacting with the media has drawn all sorts of praise. How do you all of a sudden not realize how your actions will look? How not shaking any of your opponents' hands will look? How not talking to the media that built you up will look? It just doesn't make sense. He should and does know better.
He recently said, "It's hard for me to congratulate somebody after you just lose to them. I'm a winner. It's not being a poor sport or anything like that. If somebody beats you up, you're not going to congratulate them. That doesn't make sense to me. I'm a competitor. That's what I do. It doesn't make sense for me to go over and shake somebody's hand."
Just because he says "it's not being a poor sport," it doesn't mean it's true. As it turns out, this isn't the first group of handshakes he has managed to dodge. Last year, he skipped out on the Celts, and the year before that, he left the court after a quick hug/butt-slap from the Spurs' Bruce Bowen.
It actually looks like it is "being a poor sport." I'm surprised he didn't take the ball with him.
Finally, he can't choose when and when not to be the NBA's "Golden Boy." He can't choose when and when not to be the face of the Cavaliers. He has to take the good with the bad. An NBA career is not going to be all Nike and Powerade commercials. It's not going to be all ESPYs and MVPs. It's not even going to be all puppets in your likeness.
You have to be able to answer questions after losing, as well as you do when you sweep the first two opponents. Nobody really cares all that much about what Mo Williams thinks of the loss. They (not just the media, but all of the fans, too) want to hear the MVP's thoughts.