A couple of years ago he was a villain. Last season he was the guy winning his way back into recognition, shedding off all criticisms and hatred towards him. This season? He seems to be having fun, and his dunk over Jason Terry as the Miami Heat took another step towards Eastern domination during a win over the Boston Celtics showed an arrogant side, which kind of suits his ongoing transformation.

It’s not like the Boston Celtics are the most popular team in the NBA among players thanks to guys like Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo. Jason Terry and his big mouth didn’t help either. And as LeBron James followed up his huge dunk over Terry with a nasty glare that cost him a technical (but was probably worth it), he found himself in somewhat of a new role, or maybe an old one we forgot about – an arrogant player, who knows how good he is, and is finally confident enough to show it towards opponents.

It came out a little bit last season. James made a change from villain, who feels he needs to prove something to opposing fans (that butt-slapping against the Portland Trail Blazers in 2011 comes to mind), to simply a guy who knows he’s the best in the NBA, but has to prove on the court. Not to anyone but himself and his teammates. The confidence brewing from winning that title, from shedding off the un-clutch stereotype and from the incredible streak the Heat are currently on (24 wins) allowed him to make that gesture after humiliating Terry, who got caught up in the wrong kind of dogfight.

I’ve had a chance to review it, and it was one of my better ones. The fact that it happened to J.T. made it that much sweeter. Because we all know J.T. and he talks too much sometimes. And I’m glad it happened to him.

If you remember, Jason Terry said before the 2011 NBA finals (which he was on the winning end of)  that James won’t be able to guard him effectively, which turned out to be the case as the Mavs won the series and the NBA title. Terry himself is unimpressed by James or the Miami Heat. It comes with the territory for Celtics players, who probably put it into their heads, despite begin beaten by the Heat in the last two postseasons, that they have a shot of beating them in a seven game series, even in 2013.

We’re going to see if he can do it for seven games. I’m not really impressed with it or anything that they do.

Terry might not be impressed, continuing the line of other Celtics players (and their coach) who are against giving any kind of complements to the team they see as their biggest rival (although the Heat have moved on forward, while the Celtics are sliding down the Eastern pecking order), but there’s no real question that even while slightly annoying to some by being so outspoken after dunking on Terry and beating the Celtics, that everything LeBron James and the Miami Heat do right now is very impressive.

Image: Source