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June 18, 2016

LeBron James

Oakland, California: Practice Day

Q. LeBron, you've been in plenty of Game 7s before, but only one in The Finals. What do you recall from that Game 7 against the Spurs and is a Game 7 of The Finals any different than a Game 7 in another series?
LEBRON JAMES: I mean, I approach -- every postseason game is very key. You don't put too much more added pressure on it because it's a Game 7. One thing we all know is it's the last game of the season, so it's not like you're preserving any energy, be out there saying, okay, I've got to keep my body ready for the next game. There's no next game.

So look forward to the challenge. I mean, it's a Game 7, but I don't put too much more added pressure on it.

Q. Is there anything you remember about that Spurs game besides winning?
LEBRON JAMES: Yeah, I remember pretty much everything about the game. It was a tough game versus a great opponent. Throughout the whole game we just had -- each possession was key. Each possession was key. There were momentum swings back and forth, but we were able to make a couple plays down the stretch to allow us to win that game.

Q. We all know you're a team-first guy, but seeing this is Game 7, do you see it as this will be the game that will define your legacy of your career?

Q. You don't see it that way?

Q. Okay. How much of a motivation for you is it to think about the opportunity to finally deliver a title to the people in Cleveland?
LEBRON JAMES: For me, I'm going to give everything I've got to my teammates and my coaching staff tomorrow night, as I've always done. And I live with the results. One thing I can't live with is if I don't go out and give everything I had to the game and not be true to the game, that would stop me from sleeping. So I'm ready to go.

Q. LeBron, that Game 7 you played against San Antonio was I think a Thursday. The fact that this is a Sunday, winner-take-all, for all the marbles type deal, is this like your Super Bowl Sunday that you grew up as a football guy?
LEBRON JAMES: Yeah, I mean, it is. I think it is for the whole world that loves the game of basketball, that's had a close eye throughout the whole postseason and throughout The Finals. It's also Father's Day as well. I think that's very important to all the fathers out there in the world to get an opportunity to not only be with their loved ones and kids and things of that nature, but also to be able to watch the game.

So, I mean, it's pretty cool. Like you said, to put it into Super Bowl Sunday, it's like one game. It's one game, and you look forward to it. I'm happy I'm able to be blessed just to be a part of it.

Q. Quick follow-up, this could be one of the more viewed games or most viewed games in league history. Over the course of your career, have you seen the sport of basketball and its popularity grow?
LEBRON JAMES: Oh, absolutely. First of all, you give a lot of credit to all the guys that have laid the path, and then David Stern also had a vision and he's given it all to Adam Silver who has also put that vision. Also he had his visions to continue to help grow our game. I'm happy to say that I had a some part in the history of the game to say, hey, look, I was there when this happened or the game went to a couple more countries. Once social media started, it continued to build our game up more. I was a part of that timetable.

So it's an honor to be a part of a sport and be part of a beautiful game that you know that not only here in America but people all over the world can watch and be proud about it.

Q. When you say you can live with the results, have you always been able to live with the results, and what got you to that point where you can?
LEBRON JAMES: Well, I think it doesn't mean I don't -- I still go back on some of the losses I've had in my career, not only in just The Finals, but even in the postseason, period.

When I said that, it's like, okay, did you give everything that you had? Did you prepare yourself the best way you could have? Did you leave it all on the floor? And if you can tell yourself and look in the mirror and say yes, then sometimes there are some things you can't control. You can control what you can control. And the uncontrollable, you can't allow that to play with you that much.

It's not always been that way for me, but I think it's just from my growth, I've matured over the years and I know what's real and what's not real.

Q. I know you've consistently said that if you do everything you can, you can live with what happens. I just want to push a little bit back on that. Given where you come from, where you've been, the whole arc of your career, you've never played in a game where if you win that game, Cleveland wins a championship. And I wonder what you think about and what goes through your mind when you've contemplated what winning a championship would mean to Cleveland and Akron?
LEBRON JAMES: I don't think it's went through my mind until you asked me. I don't put that type of thought on the game. I came back for a reason, and that is to bring a championship to the city of Cleveland, to northeast Ohio and all of Ohio and all Cavaliers fans in the world. That's been one of my goals. But I don't add too much pressure on it. I go out and trust what I've been able to do, the work I've put into it, my teammates have put into it. And you go out there and see what happens.

Q. You said you don't put that pressure on yourself, but do you think of that in terms of pressure, or do you think of that in terms of opportunity, I guess would be the word?
LEBRON JAMES: Well, you say pressure because everyone -- that's like the whole world, the word everyone likes to use in sports is "pressure." I don't really get involved in it. But I guess in layman's terms, pressure, I think it's an opportunity to do something special, and I'm fortunate to be in a position where I can be a part of something that was very special.

Q. Following right up with that, you have made it clear that you don't want to make this just about ending the Cleveland drought. But do you recognize that you are on the brink of finishing the storybook ending that I guess almost everyone imagined when you came back? I mean, you're right there.
LEBRON JAMES: I don't think people imagined it this way, the route that we've taken (laughing), and that's fine. Like I always say, every day is not a bed of roses and you have to be able to figure out how to get away from the thorns and the pricklers of the rose and things of that nature to make the sunshine. So we've put ourselves in a position to do something special.

You guys ask me the questions, but you guys know the answers to them. I mean, if we win and we take care of business, that's something that our city hasn't had in a very long time. So that's the obvious. You don't need me to sit up here and talk about it.

Q. There's been talk about you being MVP, win or lose, of The Finals. What are your thoughts on that?
LEBRON JAMES: Oh, listen, at the end of the day, I go out every single night and give everything I've got to the game. The game has always given back to me. So I'm okay with whatever.

Q. Do you feel like it should tend to go to the winning -- or always go to the winning team, or just whoever was the best player?
LEBRON JAMES: I don't know how they -- last time I answered the question about MVP, it didn't go that well for me, so I'm not going to do it (laughing). Yeah, I'm not going to do it. I'm not going to do it again. I'm not. I will not. Thanks, Chris, I will not do that again (laughing).

Q. First couple games here you put up good numbers, but you weren't nearly as efficient personally as you have been the last few games. What changed for you during the course of this series?
LEBRON JAMES: I would like to say I grow as the series goes on. I'm fortunate enough, first of all, to help the series go on. And I start to learn from my mistakes and break into the film and seeing the ways that they're defending me, the ways they're defending our team, ways I can be a little more efficient. I've gotten better as the series has gone on. I told you guys that me turning the ball over was something I'm not happy with, and I've got to figure out a way to not turn the ball over as much. And I've been able to do that the last couple games and put myself and my team in a position to be successful.

So just digging in a little bit more and more into the film and also just being a little bit more conscious about how I can be successful for our team.

Q. I'm just wondering, Ben Simmons has joined the Klutch family and he's been spending a lot of time in Cleveland. What's your opinion of him? The draft is next week. Do you think the 76ers would be crazy to not pick him first?
LEBRON JAMES: Well, I think he's a great young talent. I think the way he displays on the basketball court, we all notice. I think we all don't know just yet how great of a kid he is and how down to earth he is with the game of basketball and life in general.

I had an opportunity to spend a lot of time over the last couple years with him and his family. They're just so very appreciative of the opportunity that they've been given as a family. Also, they give everything to their son. They want the best for him.

And as a mentor to him and big brother to him, I also give him a lot of advice on what to expect when he makes his jump next week, how to handle it. But he also has to figure it out on his own as well because everybody's path is different. I'm not a GM. I don't get paid by the Sixers, so I'm not going to answer that.

Q. What do you see sealing it?
LEBRON JAMES: I think he has all the tools, so it's up to him.

Q. This isn't like a big focus on this part of your game, but you had nine blocked shots in the last three games. Do you feel as locked in defensively as you did offensively? How big have those shot blocks been and how much do you love doing it?
LEBRON JAMES: Defense has always been something of my game, it's something I pride more than the offensive end. I've been highly upset that I've never won Defensive Player of the Year. It was a goal of mine. It's still a goal of mine, so we'll see what happens with that the rest of my career.

But I've always taken that side of the floor very seriously, and being able to guard multiple positions, being able to know what teams are doing out on the floor and putting my teammates in position to be successful, you know, that's always been something I've taken pride in. Every now and then I'll protect the rim a little bit (laughing). So I've been successful with that the last couple games.

But my teammates do a great job of putting me in position to be able to get some shot blocks. Me also just not giving up on plays when sometimes guys have those full court lay-ups and have an opportunity to score.

Q. LeBron, going back there was a stretch there of eight or ten games against Golden State that your shooting percentages were down around the 40% range. The last four-odd games of this series, certainly the last two, they've really taken a jump up. Is it you just sort of saying I'm going to shoot those mid-range shots that they're trying to give you? What have you adjusted in terms of shooting in particular to take advantage?
LEBRON JAMES: Well, I can't tell you exactly what I've adjusted to. I would feel like you are a part of the Warriors at that point. I'm just playing my game. I'm watching a lot of film. I'm seeing ways I can be successful out on the floor and I'm just trusting it.

Q. I've heard you say many times that you are in the moment or the importance of being in the moment. Is there ever a time where being in the moment is more important than in a winner-take-all game to define your season? And how did you learn how to actually succeed at being in the moment?
LEBRON JAMES: Well, I haven't always been successful being in the moment. Some things you just can't control, like I said. You can do everything you can. You can study. You can prepare. You can go out and play as great as you've played before and you still can come out on the short end of the stick.

It happened to me before against Boston. Me and Paul Pierce had a duel where I believe he had 50, I believe, and I had high 40s, gave everything I had, and we lost. So that doesn't mean I wasn't in the moment. That meant I was there. I was mentally sharp. I was in tune with the game plan. Just sometimes you're not successful.

But for an opportunity for tomorrow, I mean, anybody that's ever played the game of basketball or done anything at any level, to be able to have an opportunity to have one game for it all? I mean, you take it.

It's an opportunity, and it's going to be fun.

Q. It seems like this series hasn't worked out for Kevin Love matchup-wise, and you guys have played along fine. But for him in this series, I know it's not important to make sure he gets him going, it's not the regular season, but in what ways can he contribute and be effective while playing in the lineup?
LEBRON JAMES: At the end of the day, if we win, it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter. We take care of business tomorrow and we put ourselves in position to win. If we come out victorious, I don't think there's going to be guys talking about over the summer how bad or Kevin wasn't -- he didn't play well. He had three fouls in the first half in Game 6. You remember Kevin picked up that third foul that wasn't a foul? I don't think anybody's going to say that. They're going to say Kevin Love is a champion. That's all that matters.

So no added pressure to Kevin. No added pressure to our team. We've got to go out and do our job. Coach Lue is going to give us a game plan, we have to go out and execute it. I'm the leader of the team, and I have to make sure my guys are ready.

But Kevin's name will be in the record books forever if we go out and take care of business tomorrow. Doesn't matter what he shot, doesn't matter how many minutes he played, doesn't matter how many rebounds that you all thought he should have got, how many shots he should have been, how aggressive you all thought he should have been. He'll be sitting home with a ring. So that's all that matters.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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