LeBron James apologizes for comment

BOSTON -- LeBron James opened his postgame comments Monday by saying he's sorry for using the word "retarded" in a previous news conference.

"I want to apologize for using the 'R' word after Game 3," James said after the Heat's Game 4 overtime victory against the Boston Celtics. "If I offended anyone, I sincerely apologize."

The Miami Heat star muttered the word after Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals as he and Dwyane Wade listened to a question about Wade's takedown of Boston guard Rajon Rondo.

James had his hand covering his mouth when he said, "That's retarded," as a reporter asked Wade whether the play that dislocated Rondo's elbow was dirty.

Earlier Monday, James was asked to clarify his use of the characterization, but declined.

"I didn't understand the question," James said. "It is definitely blown out of proportion. I don't think Dwyane is a dirty player. It's the same as ... I don't think that is a great question. I think that's a stupid question. I don't know why someone would even ask that question."

Information from ESPN.com's Kevin Arnovitz and The Associated Press was used in this report.