Stephen A. Smith lambasts LeBron James for ‘straight bulls–t’ comments about 2010-11 Miami Heat

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Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith threw some criticism in LeBron James’ direction for comments that the 39-year-old recently made regarding the role players that the 2010-11 iteration of the Miami Heat had.

James said the following in a recent podcast episode alongside former NBA player J.J. Redick.

“My first year in Miami, yeah, we had a Big 3,” James said. “And everyone said it’s a superteam, superteam this, superteam that. But we had to build our team around all minimum guys, which was still okay. But we didn’t fill out the complementary guys enough. Yeah, we had Rio (Mario Chalmers). We had Udonis [Haslem]. But we didn’t have enough as far as — enough complementary guys to actually make it all work. And we still made it to the Finals. We still made it to the Finals, and we still probably should have won the Finals.

“But I still give credit. Listen, it is what it is. You win or you lose, and we lost. It’s no — Dallas was f—— good. And they hit a stride at the right time. Dirk [Nowitzki] was unbelievable. But my second year, we was able to grab some complementary players and role players that really just — I’m talking about superstars in their roles.”

Smith responded to James’ remarks on an episode of “The Stephen A. Smith Show.”

“LeBron James, that is some straight bulls—,” Smith said regarding James’ comments on the Heat’s roster in 2011. “You got to be kidding me. I know that you didn’t just say that with the cameras rolling. That’s bulls—. Somebody gotta say it, so I’m gon’ say it.”

The 56-year-old went on to mention the fact that James and the Heat held a 2-1 series lead against the Mavericks in the 2011 NBA Finals at point.

“That roster that LeBron James is alluding to, he makes valid points,” Smith said. “He’s not wrong about the roster. My point is what the hell does that have to do with you, LeBron? What does that have to do with you? Now why would Stephen A. ask such a question, albeit rhetorically? Here’s why. Ladies and gentlemen, if you remember, in 2011, LeBron James and the Miami Heat — with that roster — were up 2-1 on the Dallas Mavericks before losing three straight.”

James had a very underwhelming series against Nowitzki and the Mavericks in the 2011 NBA Finals in terms of scoring the ball. He averaged just the third-most points per game on the team with 17.8, behind the two other members of the Big 3 in Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

Additionally, the forward had a hard time converting his free-throw attempts during the championship series, considering he converted just 12 of his 20 shots from the charity stripe, which equates to a 60 percent clip.

James was one of four players to average double digits in scoring for the Heat in the NBA Finals. Chalmers was the lone player outside the Big 3 to accomplish that feat, as he chipped in 11.8 points per game on 40 percent shooting from deep.

For as lackluster of a series as James had from a scoring standpoint, he managed to make an impact in other ways. For instance, he averaged a team-high 6.8 assists per contest and the second-most rebounds per game at 7.2.

The Heat quickly rebounded from their loss in the 2011 NBA Finals, as Miami went on to win back-to-back titles in 2012 and 2013. James was named the Finals MVP for both series.

James has won two more NBA titles since his time with the Heat came to a close. First, he helped the Cleveland Cavaliers to a ring in 2016. Fast forward to the beginning of the decade, and James led the Los Angeles Lakers to the 2020 NBA title.

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Jesse is a 23-year-old sports journalist with extensive experience covering the NBA.