After all of his fourth-quarter failures, after LeBron James choked in the same building where he celebrated like a champion before ever playing a game with the Miami Heat, here is what James had to say late last night:

According to the Associated Press, James said this of fans who ridicule him:

``All the people that were rooting on me to fail, at the end of the day they have to wake up tomorrow and have the same life that they had before they woke up today. They have the same personal problems they had today. I'm going to continue to live the way I want to live and continue to do the things that I want to do with me and my family and be happy with that. So they can get a few days or a few months or whatever the case may be on being happy about not only myself, but the Miami Heat not accomplishing their goal. But they got to get back to the real world at some point."

James is telling everyone who doubts him that they are losers with lousy lives. Once again, he has proved he has no sense of timing on or off the court.

The man celebrates a championship before he wins one. He disses Cleveland with his TV special. He fades in the fourth quarter.

He and the Heat should have the ability to win a handful of NBA championships if they can add talent and depth to the roster that almost won it all this year. But will James ever be a go-to-guy again? While he may be able to improve his game, especially on the low post, will he be able to alter a personality that had him passing up good shots and missing many of those he took in the fourth quarter of a Finals in which Dirk Nowitzki made him look like a chump?

I don't know, but I do know it's time for me to go be happy for a few months before facing the real world again.

-I don't know if I've ever liked a champion athlete as much as I like Dirk. I"ve admired many. I've been awed by a few. I don't know if I ever got to the end of a championship game or series and admire anyone more for so many reasons.

Nowitzki played hurt. He played sick. He made big shots. He overcame difficult shooting nights. He called out his teammates without losing their respect. He led. He excelled. He demonstrated the fruits of his long hours in the gym and dedication to his craft.

-I keep hearing NHL fans and writers say that the NBA celebration pales in comparison to the Stanley Cup handshake line. They're right. Too bad you have to sit through so much boring hockey to get to the handshakes.

I will watch the NHL finals tonight. I would appreciate them keeping me awake with the occasional, legitimate, scoring chance, and I would appreciate seeing a few clean, pretty, goals.

-Our hockey guy Michael Russo writes that Craig MacTavish could be closing in on the Wild head coaching job. I've been pushing for Ken Hitchcock, but MacTavish is a good, accomplished, candidate. He'd bring credibility and a strong personality, and an ability to reach players.

-Derek Jeter has reached 2,993 hits. I used to love baseball milestones. I don't know why, but I don't care much about this one.

I don't know if that's a reaction to baseball's steroid era, which blew up so many meaningful records. I don't know if my loathing for Yankee entitlement has diminished my  enthusiasm for this particular milestone. I don't know if it's Jeter's sense of outrage over the Yankees' unwillingness to pay him $30 million to be a mediocre shortstop.

But I just don't care as much as I used to about players reaching numerical milestones.

-Wrote for today's paper about the Twins' chances of getting back into the race. I don't know if it's possible, but what I always root for, as a daily newspaper columnist, is meaningful games. If the Twins can play meaningful games in September after their lousy start, I'll consider this season less of a failure.

-From my twitter feed (@Souhanstrib): Ricky Rubio has another chance in the Spanish finals to pull off a Rubio double-double: Two points, two assists.

-Upcoming: I'll be on 1500espn at 2:40 p.m. today.


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