The Charlotte Hornets introduced Lance Stephenson Friday, and anyone expecting a circus would have been disappointed.
Stephenson seemed determined to say all the right things and distance himself from the "blowing in LeBron's ear" incident. He said his favorite things on the court were "defense" and "assists" and that he first and foremost wanted to make his teammates happy.
"I'm a winner," Stephenson said. He said Hornets owner Michael Jordan "loves my game" -- Jordan was involved in Stephenson's signing -- and his competitive edge.
On the court, Stephenson said, "I don't have friends." But off the court, he said: "I'm funny."
Of his antics in the Eastern Conference finals, which included both the ear-blowing and him trying to infiltrate a Miami Heat huddle, Stephenson admitted he went "overboard." Later, he also said the ear-blowing incident had been "overblown," which was unintentionally ironic, I'm pretty sure.
"I'm a little upset about that," said Stephenson, who led the NBA in triple-doubles last season but was also top-5 in the NBA in technical fouls. He said the publicity about his playoff "antics," as he called them, had "overshadowed" how good of a player he is. And in that respect, he's probably right.
Stephenson said he and Kemba Walker had known and played against each other for years, starting in high school in New York, and that the two of them in the backcourt would be a great combination. He also said that coach Steve Clifford would "push" him, and that as a young player he needed to be pushed.
The Hornets signed Stephenson to a three-year, $27.4-million deal, with the third year being at the team's option. Hornets GM Rich Cho said Stephenson was one of the best young players in the league and that "we couldn't be more thrilled."
Asked what he will bring to the Hornets, Stephenson said: "I"ll help bring that edge and playoff experience.... I think we're ready."
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