After losing Game 5 of the NBA Finals on Monday, LeBron James answered one question about superteams saying that he never played for one.
“I don’t believe I’ve played for a superteam,” James said. “I don’t believe in that. I don’t believe we’re a superteam here.”
There isn’t a true definition for a “superteam,” sure, so James could probably concoct a definition that would exclude the teams he has played for. However, 99 percent of the time, any reasonable interpretation of the word “superteam” would have to include James’ Miami squads and the Cavaliers, too.
Look, a superteam just means a very good team with multiple superstars. The Showtime Lakers were a superteam, and so were Michael Jordan’s Bulls. When Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant teamed up, they were a superteam. I’ve heard some smart people argue that the definition should be restricted only to teams who suddenly become good, such as the Heat signing James and Chris Bosh through free agency while already having Dwyane Wade. For that reason, the Warriors wouldn’t qualify in 2015 and 2016, but now do after adding Kevin Durant in 2017. That would be fine if it was the generally accepted definition, but it’s not.
Regardless, James’ teams fall under those categories. That isn’t an attempt to be pejorative or criticize James bringing stars together so he would have a better chance to win a ring. It’s also not an attempt to prove the Warriors and the Cavaliers are equal, since clearly one superteam is stronger than the other one. It’s just a definition to the type of team James joined and helped create twice.
Regardless, Twitter was not understanding to James after hearing this quote.
LeBron James just said he doesn't believe he has played for a "super team." That's why he predicted not 1-2-5-6-8 titles in Miami.— Aaron J. Fentress (@AaronJFentress) June 13, 2017
LeBron: "I never played on a Superteam"— Hoops&Brews Podcast (@HoopsNBrews) June 13, 2017
when lebron says he hasn't been on a superteam pic.twitter.com/wIT1VPMGZR— nick (@nick_pants) June 13, 2017
LeBron said he's never been on a superteam? pic.twitter.com/eBnnyLHZ1S— Andy Bailey (@AndrewDBailey) June 13, 2017
Pretty much no matter how you define the term, James is wrong. And again, it’s just a term, not a criticism. There’s no reason to be ashamed of it.
(One small note: In the video, it sounds like James says, “I believe we are a superteam here,” which would directly contradict his previous two sentences. The official transcription adds “don’t” to the quote, and I think that’s the only reasonable explanation for what James actually meant. However, please correct me if you think we totally missed some context here.)