“I haven’t experienced that pain in a very long time,” Bosh explained Tuesday after the Heat’s exit interviews. “Basketball hasn’t given me that in a while. To be so close and work so hard and get to that point, just to come up short, it kind of got to me. I gave it everything I had. I’m an emotional guy, and it just took over me, I really couldn’t help it.”
All seemed humbled. All paid homage. All promised to no longer take anything — on or off the floor, mental or physical — for granted.
“I thought I was just going to go out there, I’m just going to be good,” Bosh said. “I didn’t really anticipate struggling. But the struggles taught me something, and I know not to get too ahead of myself or situations.”
He vowed to strengthen himself mentally, knowing now “what elite basketball is about,” knowing the microscope he’ll be under.
“You don’t know how it is going to go when you come into a season,” Wade said. “A lot of times, when you see talent on a roster, you immediately think the game is going to be easier for you, you immediately think certain things are going to happen for you. But that’s the NBA. Those are very talented players, very talented teams. And you have to work the game. No one can come in and automatically be great at something.”
He knew how some critics would counter: Boston won in 2008.
“Obviously there are teams that have won championships in their first year together, but those are real, real veteran guys, and they have to really be great complementary players to each other,” Wade said. “And we have similar styles, with myself and LeBron (James), and really trying to get comfortable with Chris’ game and understanding he was adjusting his game some. So there was a lot of thinking going on this year that won’t be going on next year.”
Then came King James, for whom humility is not a specialty. Still, he is a student of history, enough so that he can admit when the game’s gotten him, too.
“I could have played better,” he said.
James said he had put pressure on himself not to let teammates down, maybe to a fault. Did that cost the Heat the NBA Finals? He wasn’t sure.
“But I’m not satisfied with my performance,” he said.
He conceded that “every team I’ve ever played for has been good,” so he hasn’t always looked to change his sometimes-secondary approach. Now he hinted at taking a more assertive scoring role.
“I definitely have to get better individually to help my team to reach my goal,” James said.
Awww. Poor babies. Maybe this will motivate them to get their lives together.