By TOM WITHERS
AP Sports Writer
INDEPENDENCE, Ohio (AP) - LeBron James says the criticism that he undermines coaches is unfair.
James said Wednesday that he has never disrespected a coach at any level and he's bothered by the narrative that he has had a hand in coaches being fired. The Cavaliers dismissed coach David Blatt last week midway through his second season, despite the former European coach leading Cleveland to the NBA Finals last season and the Cavs topping the Eastern Conference standings this season.
James says people get his influence "misconstrued because I'm a smart basketball player and I've voiced my opinion about certain things."
James says he will continue to speak his mind and doing so has helped him win two NBA titles.
The four-time league MVP says it's unfortunate "that people want to throw my name in dirt for no particular reason."