In summer 2011, while Lillard was still at Weber State University, he published a series of tweets that were critical of James, most of them during that year's NBA Finals when James struggled and the Miami Heat lost to the Dallas Mavericks. Lillard's posts were in a batch of unflattering but dated tweets from current NBA stars that surfaced recently and made the rounds on the Internet.
Lillard called James shortly after the old tweets appeared in order to explain them.
"I didn't even see the tweets, I don't really get into social media like that," James said Tuesday before the Cleveland Cavaliers took on Lillard's Portland Trail Blazers. "He came to me before [the tweets] even got to me. We hashed it out right there, so no big deal."
Lillard, who was a Heat and James fan at the time, said he was engaging with college teammates who were rooting for the Mavericks.
"It was just irresponsible. It's something that I'm not proud of," Lillard told The Oregonian of Portland. "But I can also say that I've grown up since then. And I was just a young kid doing crazy stuff with my teammates."
One of the tweets he directed at James read, in part: "talents to south beach? N---- You took the spotlight [and] ego. You left the talents haha..."
Another read: "I just tweeted Lebron James lol. I [don't] care if he says anything. I wouldn't respond to me neither. I still tweeted Lebron haaa."
Lillard's other tweets expounded on James' struggles in that Finals. James had one of the worst games of his career in that series, scoring just eight points in a Game 4 loss. They also reveal him to have been a James supporter at times.
At the time, Lillard could not have imagined those comments would come to light now, as he's since risen to James' peer as a fellow All-Star. Lillard said it should be a learning experience for use of social media.
"I made some comments about LeBron that were uncalled for," Lillard told The Oregonian. "And that just goes to show that a lot of kids now on the social network, a lot of the stuff that you put out there, you never know when it can come back. So my advice to them is to be careful with that."
Cavaliers-Trail Blazers Preview
Tim Legler previews the Tuesday night matchup between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Portland Trail Blazers.