NBA

Roy Hibbert Thanks LeBron James, Wade and Bosh for Making Him 'Better Player'

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MAY 24:  LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat screens Roy Hibbert #50 of the Indiana Pacers in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on May 24, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Heat defeated the Pacers 105-93. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Dan FavaleFeatured ColumnistJune 6, 2013

Roy Hibbert may not shake hands after losses, but he's not above handing out hugs on Twitter.

On the heels of a Game 7 loss to the Miami Heat, the Indiana Pacers big man took to Twitter to congratulate LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh on their victory and to thank them for making him "better."

How sweet.

After the Pacers fell to the Heat in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, Hibbert made a beeline for the locker room. He didn't shake hands, give James and friends a high five or thumbs up or applaud the Heat on their NBA Finals berth at all. He just left.

Later, Hibbert explained his decision not to salute Miami to Mike Wells of the Indianapolis Star:

I know some of our guys have played on teams with some of them, but I don’t know them personally. It was their moment because they won. I have tremendous respect for them, but I don’t know any of those guys personally and I didn’t want to interrupt their moment.

In hindsight, it seemed like HIbbert was attempting to shield himself from any further criticism. Having just been fined by the league for his derogatory comments following Game 6, the last thing he wanted was the public to perceive him as a sore loser.

Turns out Hibbert put his Twitter handle where his mouth was, publicly paying homage to South Beach's Big Three.

Neither Bosh, James nor Wade are blushing, though. For one, James is still in full-on playoff mode and not checking social media. Mostly, the Heat have to be afraid of what a "better" Hibbert could look like.

Indiana's tower torched Miami for 22.1 points, 10.4 rebounds and one block per game on 55.7 percent shooting for the series. That's not a level of production the Heat would be thrilled to see him sustain. It would make the going in the Eastern Conference far more onerous than it is already projected to be next season.

Still, credit Hibbert with showing some respect for Miami and its stars. 

Then credit the Heat with helping create a two-way monster.

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