The NBA is taking heat after the Cleveland Cavaliers scored the game-winning basket in the final seconds to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday night.
But the backlash has taken a toll on LeBron James, whose reputation as a tough guy was underlined in the last few days when he was accused of choking on a banana during an altercation with a female teammate.
The Miami Heat star was also the subject of a $2 million fine last week.
The Cleveland Cavaliers, who won the NBA championship on Sunday, led by as many as 10 points in the third quarter and were ahead by as much as 20 in the fourth.
But James pulled the team back with two 3-pointers to put the game out of reach.
The Cavaliers went on to win by eight.
LeBron James was accused by a female colleague of choking, and he was fined $2,000, according to ESPN.
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images James, a former All-Star, told reporters on Tuesday that he is not “tough on women.”
He also apologized for what he called a “mistake.”
But he continued to talk about his love for his wife, the NBA star Kyrie Irving, and said he is still a big man.
James, who was fined, told ESPN that he doesn’t want to talk to reporters about the incident because he wants to “get my stuff.”
James was asked what he thought of his teammate, guard Tristan Thompson, who scored 18 points for the Cavaliers.
James said that he thinks Thompson has a “great attitude.”
“If you want to call it intimidation, it’s intimidation, but he has a great attitude,” James said.
“I don’t want him to feel intimidated.
He has a good attitude.
He’s going to be fine.”
James also defended his teammates.
“If I’m going to get fined, I want to be the one to pay it, and I don’t think anyone’s going [to be]grateful for that,” James told reporters.
You can’t just come out and start making statements.” “
You can’t just come out and start making statements.”
James and the Cavaliers had lost six of their last seven games, including four in a row at home.
The Heat had won seven straight games and were averaging 109.7 points per game in the series.
LeBron and his teammates have also faced some criticism in recent weeks for being too soft on teammates and teammates not playing up to their level.
The NBA has fined three players in recent months for using profanity in public, and a recent survey found that players and coaches are more likely to speak up against them.
“We have a very tough team and a very hard-working team, and that’s what we’re going to go out there and work hard for,” James added.
“That’s why we’re in the Finals.”
James, Kyrie, Tristan, and LeBron James have won seven consecutive games in Cleveland.