“It’s simple. I support him. I know he’s not that person and that it was a mistake,” Vogel said. “He knows he’s wrong. I didn’t have to tell him that and we all love and support him.”
Hibbert said Saturday night that he didn’t care if he got fined. In his statement Sunday, he said, “I sincerely have deep regret over my choice of words last night.”
Hibbert had drawn a key charge on James in Indiana’s 91-77 victory that evened the series and lamented not providing enough help defensively to teammate Paul George on James in Game 3.
Hibbert was later asked why he finished so low in voting for Defensive Player of the Year, telling reporters that it was “because y’all (expletives) don’t watch us play throughout the year, to tell you the truth.”
There was some irony in that Hibbert was sharing the dais with George when he said those words. George was the NBA’s Most Improved Player this season, as selected earlier this spring by a voting panel of writers and broadcasters who cover the league.
The 7-foot-2 Hibbert’s star turn has been a major reason Indiana has pushed the defending champion Heat to a Game 7. He has averaged 22.8 points and 10.8 rebounds in the series, up from 11.9 points and 8.3 rebounds in the regular season.
But now, suddenly, the Pacers’ big man who has been the talk of the series has become the center of attention for a different reason.
“Obviously, he made a great mistake. He feels horribly about it,” Vogel said. “I told him, basically, that we’ve got to move on from it.”