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May 31, 2017

LeBron James

Oakland, California: Practice Day

Q. You've always been outspoken about social issues, and it seems that you're kind of in the middle of one. The incident at your home in Los Angeles, do you have any comments on that?
LEBRON JAMES: I mean, as I sit here on the eve of one of the greatest sporting events that we have in sports, race and what's going on comes again and on my behalf and my family's behalf. But I look at it as this. I mean, if this -- if this is to shed a light and continue to keep the conversation going on my behalf, then I'm okay with it. My family is safe. At the end of the day, they're safe, and that's the most important.

But it just goes to show that racism will always be a part of the world, a part of America. And, you know, hate in America, especially for African Americans, is living every day. And even though that it's concealed most of the time, even though people hide their faces and will say things about you and when they see you they smile in your face, it's a life every single day.

And I think back to Emmett Till's mom, actually. It's kind of one of the first things I thought of, and the reason that she had an open casket is because she wanted to show the world what her son went through as far as a hate crime and being black in America.

So it's like it doesn't -- no matter how much money you have, no matter how famous you are, no matter how many people admire you, being black in America is -- it's tough. And we got a long way to go for us as a society and for us as African Americans, until we feel equal in America. But my family is safe, and that's what's -- that's what's important.

Q. That's such a strong statement from you and now we turn it to basketball, when you're talking about real-life issues. How do you move on to that, looking ahead to tomorrow night and knowing that this took place?
LEBRON JAMES: Well, at the end of the day, I'll be focused tomorrow on our game plan and focused on these games. But I also know, I mean, I'm at a point in my life where my priorities is in place and basketball comes second to my family. It actually comes after me continuing to be a role model to the youth and what I do as far as with my foundation. It won't take no -- I will be as focused as I can be on the job at hand tomorrow, but it always -- this is a situation where it just puts me back in place of what's actually more important, and basketball's not the most important thing in my life.

Q. At this point, LeBron, going to so many Finals, I'm sure you've heard almost every type of question, answered every type of question. Do you mind telling us a story or an experience from your Finals experience that maybe we haven't heard before?
LEBRON JAMES: I can't even sit here and to even think about it -- I'm just -- I'm in a position where I'm just blessed and I'm honored to be a part of -- we have All-Star Weekend and we have The Finals. These are our two biggest events. The NBA Draft would be third. And I'm sitting here, once again, with this franchise and being able to be a part of the NBA Finals where our game is covered by so many different countries all over the world and it brings the spotlight to two of the best teams that we have in our sport today. So that's what I'm more proud about, and that's the story I have right now.

Q. What's your relationship with Kevin Durant like? I know you spent time in the off-season, you've played on national teams. And like I know in 2011, didn't he come out to Akron to come train with you a little bit? Do you have that relationship still, or is it a healthy, competitive --
LEBRON JAMES: Our relationship is very good. Our relationship consists of if someone needed something, we can always reach out to one another. And if not, then it doesn't take away from it. We have always had a mutual respect of one another, being competitors. I've always wanted to -- because I was in the NBA before him and when he came in, I watched him and things of that nature, even before he came in I always gave him just an if you need anything to bounce of or someone to bounce something off, you can always use me because I had experience being drafted to a franchise that now they're expecting you to be the franchise player.

So with him going to Seattle, he always could use me and things of that nature. And so all over the course of the years throughout his -- throughout his journey, I've always had an open-door policy and with K.D., and so I guess that's pretty much it.

Q. One more question about the incident. How do you explain something like that to your own children?
LEBRON JAMES: Oh, I think the most unfortunate part is that I'm here right now and I can't be home to see my boys right now. My little girl's too young to actually understand it right now. But I can't sit in front of my boys right now and I won't be home until next week, so this is kind of killing me inside right now, but my wife is unbelievable. My mother, my mother-in-law, my sister-in-law, they're going to do a great job of talking to them when they get home from school today. Because of Apple being so great, I can FaceTime them and -- but I like to do face-to-face conversations when it becomes with a situation like this.

But that's the -- I talked about this before, having two sons, two sons that's very -- they have great minds, they're very open to life and love life and things of that nature, so for me to be able just to try to give them the blueprint as much as I can on what life has to offer, but at the end of the day they're going to have to walk their own path, and hopefully I give them enough life skills throughout their journey where when they're ready to fly, they can fly on their own.

Q. You've been through multiple highs throughout your career, last year, sounds like this is it again, do you still get a drive or a high of trying to -- I don't want to say prove people wrong, but just try to silence folks?
LEBRON JAMES: No, I'm not in that department anymore. I left that in the 20s. I'm not in the "prove people wrong, silence critics" people department no more. I got a promotion when I got to the 30s. So at the end of the day, I mean, I know what I've done and I know what I'm built -- I know the way I'm built, my only motivation is to be able to compete for a championship every single year. And I'm sitting here today blessed once again because I put in the work and our teammates have put in the work. So, yeah, that doesn't matter to me.

Q. I wanted to know if the incident stirred any emotions inside of you and how you manage them, if it does.
LEBRON JAMES: Well, I have a -- I mean, obviously you see I'm not my normal energetic self. It will pass. That's fine. I'm figuring it out. I'm thinking about my kids a lot. Obviously I'm not in front of them, so but my wife -- I talked to my wife and she was pretty -- she's -- she's the Energizer Bunny of the family, and she said everything's fine. So that helps me out a lot.

But time heals all. And at the end of the day, like I said, if this incident that happened to me and my family today can keep the conversation going and can shed light on us trying to figure out a way to keep progressing and not regressing, then I'm not against it happening to us again. I mean it's as long as my family is safe.

Q. You do seem very aware, though, of your historical perspective in the game, seven straight Finals with two different teams and now part of this trilogy. Do you see each step of this, and this one in particular, as another brick in building your own personal legacy in the game?
LEBRON JAMES: Well, I think that I never really talk about my legacy. I kind of just live in the moment and if I'm able to accomplish something, then it kind of adds to it on its own. So in this instance, seeing some of the stats and some of the history and things of that nature, and I'm the first person to go to the Finals seven straight times since I think Bill Russell and those guys back in the '50s, I believe, or '60s, and I was the first guy to take a franchise -- two different franchise to the Finals four times. So at the end of the day I want to be able to once I hang it up and not play this game anymore, that people can look at what I was able to accomplish, win, lose or draw, and say that he made a difference. So that's what I'm here for.

Q. If I could follow-up, how deeply satisfying was it to you especially after the circumstances under which you left Cleveland to then return last year and deliver that title?
LEBRON JAMES: Well, it was a goal of mine. Satisfying is -- I'm not a, I don't like to be satisfied too much. Because then you become complacent. But it was a reward because when you set out a goal and you're able to achieve that reward or achieve that goal, like all of us, then it's rewarding and you feel good about it.

But I'm not a complacent person. After we was able to accomplish that last year and we celebrated for a few days, I got right back to work, mentally and physically get my body ready because I wanted to be able to put myself and put our teammates and put our franchise in position where we had an opportunity to do it again.

MODERATOR: Thank you, LeBron.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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