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June 2, 2018

LeBron James

Oakland, California: Practice Day

Q. There is a talking point since Game 1 that you guys are going to be deflated after such a frustrating loss. I'm just wondering what your response to that is?
LEBRON JAMES: I don't really have a response to it.

Q. How do you expect your team to come out tomorrow?
LEBRON JAMES: I expect us to come and play with the same grit that we had in Game 1. And we made a lot of mistakes in Game 1. I expect us to be better.

Q. You've been through adversity your entire life, on the court, off the court. What have you learned since you were a young player or even a young person about how to overcome adversity that can help you in this particular situation after such a difficult Game 1 loss?
LEBRON JAMES: I mean, it's a new day. For me, I woke up feeling excited about the opportunity for us to get better today. Excited about the opportunity that presents itself tomorrow.

I can never compare the adversity I went through when I was younger compared to playing basketball. This is just basketball. This is not adversity. Not with the things I've been through in my life. This is fun.

Q. Secondly, George Hill said yesterday that for him Game 1 was the toughest loss in his entire career. How can you as a leader help lift a player like that who maybe hasn't been through it before?
LEBRON JAMES: We both went through some of the same emotions. It's one of the toughest losses I've had in my career as well because of everything that kind of went on with the game and the way we played. Obviously, we all know what happened in the game.

So it was a tough 24 hours not only for G-Hill and for myself but for our whole ballclub, because we put ourselves in a great position to be successful.

But like I said, you give yourself a day -- if you need to take two days, OK. But today you should feel excited about the opportunity to be better and be great and move forward.

Q. I know you talked a lot about how important sleep is for your recovery and how vital it is for your performance. I remember back in Miami Dwyane Wade was always team no sleep. But I was curious when you believed that sleep was this weapon for you and how that evolved throughout your career, whether you were prioritizing it when you were a rookie and when did that really impact you?
LEBRON JAMES: I think as you get older, you understand what benefits your body more and more, depending on what you put in your body as far as food and nutrition, things like that, how many hours a night that you try to get. Obviously, some nights are different from others, but how much optimal sleep you want to get to help your body recover. How much working out and things that you do.

I think every individual is different. I found a great balance in what helps me be in the best possible shape I can be on a day-to-day basis. I just try to follow that.

Q. Early in your career did you have the same appreciation for it, or did you just learn over time?
LEBRON JAMES: No. I mean, I was 18 when I came into the league. I could do whatever I wanted to do. I could stay up throughout the whole night and play 48 minutes the next night and then not ice after the game and go right home. I was 18. I didn't even tape my rookie year. No, I'm totally different.

Q. Years ago there was a concept known as the Jordan Rules. Just certain principles that certain teams believed they had to live by in order to defend him. Given all the approaches that you've seen throughout your career, all the coverages, all the different looks that you get from game to game in a series like this and even within a game, how would you define the LeBron rules?
LEBRON JAMES: I don't think there are LeBron Rules. I think for me personally, I think a coaching staff puts together a game plan that best suits his team, best suits the individual when going against myself and my teammates, and they try to be successful with that.

Obviously we've all heard of the, quote/unquote, Jordan Rules or whatever the case may be and whoever decided to bring that notion up and a way to stop Jordan. But I think more importantly this is a team game, and coaching staffs put together game plans that best fit their team to stop either that dynamic player but also the rest of the guys on the floor as well.

Q. What would you say is the biggest difference in how you're defended now versus when you -- early in your career when you first came into the league?
LEBRON JAMES: There were parts of my game that you could disrespect early in my career. You can't do that now.

Q. We can't see it under your hat, so how's your eye today?
LEBRON JAMES: It's better. It doesn't look better, but the docs told me it's better. It's just going through a stage right now of recovering. It looks worse than it did during the game, but it feels better.

Q. Did you basically score 51 points with one eye that was blurry?
LEBRON JAMES: No, I had some points before that already (laughing).

Q. Can you see now? Is it still blurry?
LEBRON JAMES: Well, I'm taking my medication that I've been given by the doctors. My eye drops and my antibiotic to help me with the recovery as fast as possible. But it's an eye. I mean, it's going to recover as fast as it can on its own. There is nothing you can do. I can't ice it or anything like that, or if I get more sleep or whatever the case may be. I'll just have to naturally, organically let heal.

Like I said, it's been better. But it's better today than it was in Game 1. Like I said, it doesn't look better, but it feels a lot better.

Q. As Game 1 was starting, Dan Gilbert sent out a number of tweets basically with his thoughts on how this team made it to The Finals this year. Were you aware of those tweets, and did you have any reaction to them after the game?
LEBRON JAMES: No, not aware. I'm not on social media right now, so I wasn't aware of that. It was his account though, right.


Q. One of the many things that you're obviously notorious for is getting to know the strengths and weaknesses of your teammates, from how they like the ball passed to them to the spin, to the speed. You've kind of taken that to the next level. Your time with J.R. Smith, what have you learned about him as far as what you needed to do with him the last 24 to 48 hours to get his mind right for tomorrow night?
LEBRON JAMES: I think J.R. is one of the most resilient guys I've ever been around. I think it just comes from not only him personally but his household -- his mom, his dad, his brothers and sisters. And his family now as well.

He probably took that loss as hard as anybody on the team. But one thing about J.R., he has an uncanny ability to bounce back. I think people have seen that throughout our postseason runs, where he hasn't played well or played to his ability that he thinks he should have played, and then the next game he comes on and shoots the ball extremely well. It's just very locked in.

For me, I don't think I need to say anything to J.R. I've known J.R. since he was in high school. It's not like he's a new teammate of mine or someone I just met. J.R. knows what I expect out of him. He expects things out of me. And we just try to go get it done.

Q. Along the line of questioning regarding the LeBron Rules, when you're getting different defensive coverages and switches from different personnel, what sort of things are you reading and trying to take advantage of?
LEBRON JAMES: I think it's all about angles. For me, seeing things before they happen, being able to beat a defender that's in front of me, but understanding there's going to be multiple guys either stabbing at the ball, rotating, poking at the ball, putting bodies and hands in front of me. So you have to be strong with the ball, first of all. Especially against the Golden State Warriors team that is so great with their hands, either from Steph, Draymond, obviously. Iggy didn't play in Game 1, but in the past we know Iggy -- Shaun Livingston, and the rest go on. They're so good with their hands that you have to be very strong with the ball. So being able to read and react to the defense, being able to not only get past your guy but know when the rotations happen and being able to put the ball on time and on target to your teammates.

There are a lot of things that go on. I just try to read and react and know what's going on throughout the course of a game. It may change from quarter to quarter. Coaches make adjustments. Players make adjustments on how to guard you. And then you always have to be on your toes on seeing that throughout the course of a 48-minute game.

Q. How are they different defensively without Andre so far?
LEBRON JAMES: Well, they're damn good with him and they're damn good without him. No matter offensively or defensively. Listen they've had a two-time MVP sit out playoff games and they've won, all right. They're good. They're great, actually. So let's not get too far on that.

Q. When you first came in the league, the only time you would hear criticism would be from I guess us, media members. Now with social media and people come up with these memes and these creative bits and whatnot, how have you adjusted to that? I don't know if you engage or look into that. Secondly, how have you noticed your teammates or your peers, is it a negative effect on them if they consume that too much?
LEBRON JAMES: I think it comes with growth. I think it comes with understanding what matters and what doesn't matter in your life, in your personal life.

For me, it took time. I mean, obviously I came into the NBA before social media. I don't know how many people were part of the league before social media that's in here. But I see a few of you. Got some gray-haired guys in here. So you guys were definitely around then.

You could hear criticism, but it took four or five people to finally get to you if the criticism happened. Then as you get into the later years of the 2000s, the social media thing. Everybody is excited about it. Everybody is like, OK, just the touch of a finger you can pull something or see something. Everybody's like, it's the greatest thing ever.

Then if you're a celebrity, you realize it's actually really bad for you if you pay attention to it. Like, if you really pay attention, there are people out there that really try to tear you down. You have to realize that, one, you don't know who they are. Two, they don't know what they're talking about. Three, they've never stepped in your shoes or been in the light to understand what it means to have to perform or whatever the case may be.

I guarantee that there are doctors and surgeons and cops and firefighters and people like that on social media and people are roasting them too. As you get older, you realize I'm going to do what I do. I put all my time into my craft. I gave it all that I have, and I live with the results.

You can't get involved in that. I can only speak for me. I've learned how to laugh at the memes that come through. I've learned if it's someone that's trying to kill me in the fashion to laugh at that, too, because it's funny at times as well, and not take too much into it.

I can't sit here and tell you how my teammates go about it, because at the end of the day we all go to our separate homes after practice and we go to our separate rooms when we're on the road. So I don't know how much scrolling goes on.

But if I have some words of advice, if you're a part of it and it bothers you, then you probably should just delete it off your phone. That would be if it bothers you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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