LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat licks his fingers against the Boston Celtics in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on May 9, 2011 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.

*LeBron James began his post-game press conference Monday night by expressing regret over 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.”