Unclear On Its Use, LeBron James Nevertheless Apologizes For Using R-Word

Miami Heat forward LeBron James apologized Wednesday evening for his poor choice of words in a pre-game presser before getting stormed by the Oklahoma City Thunder, 112-95.

When asked about the passing abilities of opponent Kevin Durant, James used the word “retarded” in his answer.

“That is retarded to me,” James said, via the Sun-Sentinel. “Kevin Durant is great at being a passer.”

While fielding questions after the game (perhaps after getting some sense knocked into him by that score), LeBron expressed his regret for his remark.

“It was brought to my knowledge that I used the word ‘retarded’ before the game,” LeBron started off. “Obviously, it had nothing to do with kids that’s underprivileged; it’s no knock on them. It’s a word that had been around a long time where I was growing up.”

“It’s a bad habit, so I try to break it. If I use it again—I’m going to try to do my best not to—I mean no disrespect.”

LeBron James is totally right.

The word “retarded” has nothing to do with underprivileged kids.

It truly is no knock on them.

The r-word is a perjorative used to ridicule those with intellectual and developmental disabilities, regardless of their standard of living.

Not to hassle the man, but LeBron James’s word choice was once again poor whilst apologizing for his poor choice of words.

And according to TIME, it’s not the first time LeBron has used the r-word; he directed it at a reporter (under his breath) after Game 3 of the 2011 NBA Finals.

Regardless of his grasp on the word, LeBron James apologized, realizing the insensitivity of the word, and that’s to be commended. It was enough for Best Buddies, a non-profit that fosters one-on-one friendships and integrated employment for people with IDD. Following James’s mea culpa, the organization encouraged its Facebook fans to show him their appreciation for his apology by posting on his wall.

It’s unknown who brought LeBron’s use of the r-word to his attention in between media sessions. While it’s likely some image-preserving PR lackey, it’s entirely possible it was his own teammate, Chris Bosh. Bosh is involved with Best Buddies and shot a PSA for the non-profit. He’s also pictured with Best Buddies participant Thomas Beguiristain in the organization’s exhibit in the Miami International Airport.

LeBron James apologized, recognizing a bad habit and pledging to break it. And that’s awesome. But perhaps he should be a little more aware of who he’s marginalizing in order to show some added sincerity.

(Images Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports)

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