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June 3, 2015

LeBron James


Q.  When you got to Cleveland and you came back to Cleveland you asked people to be patient, and now you're here on the cusp of another championship, are you feeling the pressure to deliver?  What do you think the Cleveland people expect from you at this point?
LEBRON JAMES:  All I can guarantee is that we're going to play hard.  We're going to give everything that we've got in these two games.  Coaches will give us the proper game plan to go out and execute, and it's up to the players to go out and do it.
For me as leader of the team, it's my job to lead the guys and to perform well.  At the end of the day, win, lose or draw, that's all I can ask out of myself and ask out of my guys, and we'll do that.

Q.  When you came back to Cleveland, I think many people were quite moved of the heartfelt nature of it.  When you talked it came from your heart, wanting to win a championship for the city and bringing a championship to the city.  What's it mean to you to have this goal to bring the championship to Cleveland?
LEBRON JAMES:  Well, I mean, it's part of my motivation.  I understand the drought our city has been in as far as a major championship, so it's a huge motivation inside of me.  And it's helped me get to this point, but I'm not done.  I've still got a lot left in me in this season, and I'm going to command a lot out of my guys.  I'm going to command a lot out of myself, and hopefully we're able to come through.

Q.  How much has it grown outside the court for you?  Can you even be yourself?  What are the pressures like and things you've got to take care of?  I'm sure you can't get a meal, can't walk anywhere.  How do you manage all that and how big everything has become?
LEBRON JAMES:  Well, I'm able to pick and choose.  I do normal stuff, I guess.  I went to the movies last week at a regular movie theater.  I went to go see‑‑ I forgot the name of the movie.  But I went to go see‑‑ what is the movie with the girls and they're singing?  Pitch Perfect 2, which is unbelievable.  Fat Amy is awesome.  I love her.  Wherever you are, you're awesome.
I sat out at an outdoor burger place and had a burger.  Last night I went out and had a great dinner.  I do normal stuff.  I think I do.

Q.  How are you feeling with the pressures that come with you?
LEBRON JAMES:  I've been in front of this since I was a 15‑year‑old kid.  Obviously it wasn't broadcast in as many countries as it is now 15 years later, but I've been dealing with this since I was 15 years old.  Getting questioned by you guys, obviously not you guys, but my local city newspaper or when I was traveling playing basketball.  So it's something I've been dealing with for half of my life.  So I think I've done a pretty cool job.

Q.  I was going to say my sister said she saw you at BurgerFi the other day.  You've talked all playoffs about how much you love playing on the road.  And as you know, of course, the Warriors are really good here.  Does it take something extra to win a game in The Finals like this against a team that good at home?
LEBRON JAMES:  You don't put too much more pressure on it.  It's a court and it's basketball, and it's ten guys on the court, it's three referees, and it's 20,000‑plus fans.  It doesn't change.  These fans here are amazing.  They've been amazing all year and for the last past few years.
But for me, I don't put too much pressure on it.  I've heard‑‑ I've been in so many loud arenas.  This is going to be one of them.  I've played in OKC in The Finals to start off the series.  I've played in Boston.  I've played in Detroit when they were in their heyday.  I've played in Chicago in 2011 to open up the Eastern Conference Finals.  I've played in San Antonio.  So I've been in some very loud buildings, and this, obviously, I know tomorrow is going to be one of them.
But I don't add too much pressure on it.  You just go out and you just try to play.  You've got to command.  Sometimes you've got to have some hand signals depending on how loud they get.  But for the most part, you just trust what you've been able to do.

Q.  When you look back at your first trip to the Finals in Cleveland and then the first one you won in Miami when you had Dwyane Wade who had won a championship, Warriors have zero experience in The Finals, you're going into your fifth.  How much do you think experience plays a factor on this big stage?
LEBRON JAMES:  I don't know.  I mean, it's just basketball.  I don't like to put too much experience into it.  Those guys have been playing championship basketball all year.  So why would they change?  We've been playing championship basketball over the last two and a half months, so we're not going to change either, just go out and play.
Actually going to my sixth Finals.  That's five in a row.  But who's counting (laughing).

Q.  You've had, as you know, two buzzer beaters almost the identical spot on the floor here.  Does that mean anything to you?  When you step into this building, do you call upon those vibes?
LEBRON JAMES:  Well, if I get that opportunity again, I'm going to be very confident in my ability, and I know the fans will probably remember me hitting two buzzer beaters.  So if we're fortunate enough and it's a close game and we have the ball, I definitely would like the ball in my hands.  Not saying I'm going to shoot it.  I'm going to make the right play to help our team win.  But if I get a good look at it, I believe it will go down.

Q.  LeBron, your six Finals, I assume you've gotten here relatively healthy other than wear and tear of a long season.  Can you appreciate what Kyrie is facing right now being here for the first time not being a hundred percent healthy?  What can you say to him or what will you say to him?
LEBRON JAMES:  I can appreciate him just fighting through it.  I know he sat out two games in the Atlanta series, but he's been fighting through it since the second game of the Boston series.  It's difficult on him for sure.  We want the best.  Whatever he can give us, it's going to be great for our team.  Kyrie at 50, Kyrie at 60, Kyrie at 70 is better than Kyrie at zero.
His presence on the floor.  When that No. 2 Irving steps onto the court, he's a presence.  And the defense has to be aware of him, has to account for him just because of his abilities to make plays.  But you definitely can appreciate it.
Any guy that is playing through injuries, I mean, we all are at this point, but he's dealing with something that's even more challenging, so you definitely commend him.

Q.  As a student of the game, you've seen some great ball handlers during your time.  We've got two incredible ones in this series.  Can you kind of talk about what they both do so well when they handle the ball, and kind of compare and contrast Kyrie and Steph Curry?
LEBRON JAMES:  Yeah, they are two of the best ball handlers that this league has ever seen.  Their ability to make shots off the handle, Steph's ability to use his handle to get off shots, three step backs.  Kyrie's ability to be crafty, use his ability to get into the lane and make shots.  When you have a handle like that, you can pretty much get any shot you want, and they both show you that.  With their speed, their change of pace, their ball handling, and then their ability to shoot the ball.  They can absolutely just shoot the rock.
When you have a handle like that, it just keeps the defender, keeps the second line of defense, third line of defense so off kilter because you don't quite know exactly where they're going to be.

Q.  LeBron, what's it like for you to be back here in Oakland?  I know you had some ties to Oakland as a youth.  What would you like to say to folks here in Oakland?
LEBRON JAMES:  I don't know.  I have a couple guys here.  I spent some time when I was a youth and playing some AAU ball here.  It's always good to see some friends that you spent time with when you were younger.  I know you're rooting for the Warriors, and that's cool.  But, you know, hopefully you were cheering for us throughout the Eastern Conference.

Q.  I saw you said the other day that you thought you were playing better now than at any other point.  Is that because of sort of intellectually the way you see the game?  What goes into your feeling that way?
LEBRON JAMES:  If I was to say just my game, I wouldn't think so.  I haven't shot the ball well.  I've had some high‑turnover games in the postseason.  So as far as just going out on the floor, I wouldn't say this is the best I've played in a stretch run.  I would think '09 I had a pretty good run when we lost to Orlando in the Eastern Conference Finals.  I believe I averaged like 37, like 50‑something percent shooting in that round.  High rebounds, high assists, and I felt really good.  Just couldn't get our guys over the hump.
But I think now when you put my whole body of work, as far as how I approach the game mentally as well as my game, I'm very, very confident in my ability to be able to see the game even before the game is played.

Q.  There's a lot of excitement at home because of the Australian involvement in this game.  What difference do we bring to the game, do you think, as players?  And also a lot has been said about Delly being dirty.  Are we tough players?  Is that what we're all about?
LEBRON JAMES:  Can you play ball?

Q.  Not on your nelly.
LEBRON JAMES:  Oh, man, I was going to ask Coach to pick you up.  We need another Australian on our team.  I love our Australian that we have.  I love Delly.  What he brings to our team brings just toughness and grit, determination.  Just tries to beat all the odds.  He's been great for us, and I know he's happy to be back here too, playing college ball here.  I know he's excited being back, and should be very fun.  But, yeah, I love you Australian guys.  You guys are cool.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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