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LeBron James: 'I'm the easiest target ... in sports'

LeBron James was struggling on the Heat bench late in Game 1 on Thursday night. (Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images) LeBron James was struggling on the Heat bench late in Game 1 on Thursday night. (Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images)

Plenty of criticism has been heaped on LeBron James after he left Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday with leg cramps.

To James, taking jabs isn't anything new.

"I know I'm the easiest target that we have in sports, I'm aware of it," the 29-year-old told ESPN's Michael Wilbon on Friday. "I really am. I believe it."

James said he doesn't turn on his phone or watch much television during the playoffs, so he wasn't totally aware of the criticism he was getting.

SI WIRE: LeBron James was 'angry' cramps forced him to sit late in Game 1

The two-time NBA champion and four-time MVP scored 25 points in 33 minutes during the Heat's 110-95 loss on Thursday, shooting 9-for-17 from the field with six rebounds, three assists and three steals.

"For me, all I can control is what I control," James told Wilbon. "For me, as one of the leaders of our team, one of the biggest competitors of our team, and knowing what it takes to win, for me, I'll maintain my focus and get ready for Game 2. [There's] anger in the sense that I wasn't able to be out there for my teammates to possibly help them win Game 1 of the Finals. But what I can control is what I do to prepare myself mentally going to the next game.

"I can't play the game of basketball and live my life on what other people expect me to do or what they think I should do, that doesn't make me happy," James added. "What makes me happy is being able to make plays for my teammates, to be able to represent the name on the back of my jersey. That's what makes me happy. What everybody else thinks? That doesn't really matter to me."

Game 2 is Sunday night in San Antonio.

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