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May 30, 2018

LeBron James

Oakland, California: Practice Day

Q. What's the last couple of days for you been like, just as you go through the process of resetting the body and the mind? And kind of along those lines, I know that the numbers that you put up so far in these playoffs, everyone's just sort of been gaga over them. But do you think there's still another level that you can get to in this series?
LEBRON JAMES: I really think that's to be seen. But for the last couple days, obviously, we were able to finish our series off on Sunday in Boston. Monday was Memorial Day, so I got an opportunity to stay home with the family, barbecue, have a cookout, kids had a heck of a time. I had a heck of a time just kind of relaxing and decompressing, until 9:00 Eastern Time. Until I started watching the game and seeing who we were going to play.

Just going against the Warriors in the last three years in The Finals, I kind of figured or thought that they could get it done. Just because of the 18 of a possible 21 Finals games that I've played against them in the last three years, I figured out that they could make it happen. Just their championship DNA.

So yesterday, just round-the-clock treatment. We had a workout before we left Cleveland. I got treatment on the four-and-a-half-hour flight up here. We did a little prep yesterday. Got some more treatment, ate dinner. I woke up this morning, worked out like I always do. I got some more treatment and headed here to see you guys.

The level that I can play at is to be seen, but the level that I put into the game and put into my craft is who I am. So numbers and things like that kind of take care of itself. But for me, I understand and I know how much I put into the game. So everything else is OK.

Q. You have four teammates who once played against you deep into the playoffs previously, Kyle Korver, George Hill, Kendrick Perkins and Jeff Green. Did you ever envision playing on the same team as those guys at some point? Did you want to? And the last part of that, what do you like about having Perk around?
LEBRON JAMES: When you go against guys, you can envision at times how they fit with you and what they could do for your team. Going against Kyle, I always kind of was like, oh, wow, to add a sharpshooter like that to our ballclub would be an amazing thing. Obviously our former GM, David Griffin, was able to pull that off and get him to us. And the rest is history, what he's been able to do for our ballclub.

I've always loved George Hill -- his length and his ability to put pressure on the defense, but also on the defensive side with his length. I've always kind of seen that, obviously, with the battles that we had with Indiana and going deep into the playoffs.

Me and Perk, we've been playing against each other and with each other since high school. We played on a few AAU circuits together when we played actually for the Oakland Soldiers out here. We played on the same team.

Jeff Green, I never envisioned being a teammate of his. But I've always kind of had aspirations for Jeff, especially when he went through the heart surgery. To see the game be taken away from someone so young at that point in time, I was like, wow, this is a reset for me personally to kind of never take the game for granted, even though I never do. But it gives you an opportunity to kind of think the situation that you're in.

So it was always great to compete against Jeff, especially after he was able to get back on the floor. Not actually knowing exactly what he went through, because none of us can actually know unless we've been through that, but you can be inspired by it. So it's been great to have all four of them.

To answer your last question, Perk's leadership, his championship, not only pride, but his championship manner, every day he just brings a championship guy around every single day. Obviously, if you guys are out here, you hear from the Warriors all the time about what it means to be a championship person and to breathe and to talk and to speak that every single day.

For a lot of our guys that kind of went on to other teams or are not a part of our team this year, it's great to have another championship guy in our locker room that can kind of give some of the guys that have never been a part of it some words of encouragement, or words of advice, or what it takes to breathe a championship mindset every single day. So he's been instrumental to us since we got him back at the start of postseason.

Q. Is it good for the NBA to have the same two teams in The Finals four years in a row?
LEBRON JAMES: You've got to ask Adam Silver.

Q. I mean, your thoughts?

Q. Well, there's been some blow-back, some talk on social media that people are sick of the same match-up. Do you feel like it would be better if there was more parity in the league?
LEBRON JAMES: Teams have had their opportunities to beat the Cavs over the last four years, and teams have had the opportunities to beat the Warriors over the last four years. If you want to see somebody else in the postseason, then you got to beat them. Or in The Finals, in that case.

Q. Andre Iguodala, obviously he's out. What has he done so well on you, or what have you noticed him doing on defense against you the last few years that's kind of making you take notice?
LEBRON JAMES: I think it's, first of all, he has very, very quick hands. That doesn't get talked about a lot. His ability to react to the ball either in the flight or while you're dribbling or while you pick the ball up.

But at the end of the day, his athleticism allows him to play some of the premier perimeter players in our league. He's a guy that's 6'8", long wingspan, athletic. He's been like that since he was at Arizona. He's just added to his game every single season he's been in the NBA.

I've played against him throughout my career, throughout his entire career since he got to the league. A funny story, when he got drafted, we were one pick away from drafting him before Philly took him (with the ninth pick). I believe, 8 or 9. Then we selected Luke Jackson from Oregon. I had loved him at Arizona and was hoping that he slid to us with that pick. You guys like those stories, so that's why I gave it to you.

Q. We appreciate it.
LEBRON JAMES: Yeah, you guys like stories like that (laughing).

Q. Thursday's going to be the 101st game you've played in this regular season plus the postseason, the most you've ever done in that span of time. We've tried to get you to kind of reflect on it before; I don't know if you will now. But are you redefining what a prime is considered? I mean, in basketball circles for years, you hit seven or eight seasons in, 27 years old, that was kind of the traditional prime. But now you're 15 years in at age 33 and about to play more basketball than you've ever played.
LEBRON JAMES: Yeah, they always kind of talked about the NBA prime is like 27 and like 31, 32. That's, if you're lucky, you'll get to that point.

I don't know. I've just never really bought into that. I've never bought into a ceiling either. You guys talked about what's your ceiling, and I've always kind of told you guys that I don't really have a ceiling. I want to just try to maximize as much as I can and be as good as I can.

I forgot -- I'm not quite sure who I did a postgame interview with after one of our games this year. I don't know if it was maybe Doris (Burke) or -- it was one of the great lady sideline reporters that we have that asked me how do you feel and how are you still able to do this? And I told her at that particular time, this is the best I've felt in my career.

Q. It was Cassidy Hubbarth.
LEBRON JAMES: OK, well, there it is. I don't know if she believed me, and I don't know if you guys believe me, but I really felt that. And I continue to just play at an all-time-level standard for the rest of this season. Hopefully I can continue it in this Finals also.

I've been blessed to be available. That's what I take pride in more than anything, is being available to my teammates every single day.

I think I've missed one or two practices a (year) because when you live in northeast Ohio and you have four seasons, you will get sick. But I've been available for my teammates and been a leader to my teammates all year, and I've put in the work.

It's allowed me to be able to tomorrow suit up for the 101st consecutive time. If I'm fortunate, I can suit up for -- what is it, 108? We'll see what happens.

Q. Does that feeling still apply, even with Larry Nance falling into your leg and playing 94 minutes to close out Games 6 and 7?
LEBRON JAMES: I'm not going to answer that.

Q. A few years back you used to talk about certain teams or certain players having CliffsNotes. There will probably be CliffsNotes when your career is said and done in your possible book or whatnot, with the Warriors time, tenure. How impactful and meaningful is this series and rivalry with you in your career? How do you view them?
LEBRON JAMES: Listen, Golden State is one of the best teams I've ever played. It's one of the best teams that's ever been assembled. Then they added Kevin Durant. So then what does that do to them? It makes them even more dangerous and even more powerful and great.

For me as a competitor, it's fun. It's truly fun to know when I'm done playing the game of basketball to know that I played against some of the greatest teams that ever played, ever been assembled. And this is one of them.

You look at it, they've got four Hall of Famers on their team in Klay, Dray, Steph and K.D. They've got a Finals MVP (Andre Iguodala) that comes off their bench. They've got a number one draft pick, or I think -- what was Shaun Livingston? One or two when he came out (fourth pick in 2004)? Fought back, and he comes off their bench. They've got an All-Star power forward in David West who comes off their bench.

You know, it's just like whoever they kind of suit up or whoever they decide to be a part of what they've got going on over here is just a really, really high IQ basketball player and knows how to play the game of basketball.

At what chapter will the LeBron versus Warriors fit into my book? I have no idea. That's for myself and whatever writer I decide to pick. I know one of you guys would love to be (laughing). Probably could make a lot of money.

But I don't know. I could sit here and say today -- listen, Golden State is a great team. They're a great team, and it's not even -- I didn't even mention their head coach. Their head coach is the one who kind of puts it all together, makes it all flow. To be able to put egos and the right position and spot on the floor where everybody feels good about the outcome and things of that nature -- when it comes to team sports, that's something that you would hope that you could be a part of. When you've got great guys that not only have great talent but also practice the way exactly how you're supposed to practice and then go in a game and play it that way.

I've been fortunate enough to be a part of a few of those teams in my career, either from NBA teams or Olympic teams, obviously.

I don't know. I don't know where they will fall in my book, but they will have a nice chapter.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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