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June 5, 2018

LeBron James

Cleveland, Ohio: Practice Day

Q. You always talk about experience be the greatest teacher. What do you hope your team has learned during this crazy season that can carry you guys forward now?
LEBRON JAMES: I think just being persistent. We've been very persistent and very resilient throughout this whole season, no matter what has been going on. We have an opportunity to come home and protect home, as Golden State has done.

We look forward to the challenge. It's a very tall task. A very tough challenge, as I mentioned before the series even started, going against these guys, going against this team. But we have an opportunity to seize the opportunity. So I look forward to that.

Q. In training camp, you talked about this in regard to the Warriors. But do you have any comment on Trump uninviting the Eagles to the White House after most of the black players decided not to go?
LEBRON JAMES: I actually just found out about it as I was walking up to the podium. I didn't really digest it enough. But it's typical of him. I'm not surprised. It's typical of him. I don't know. I mean, I know no matter who wins this series, no one wants the invite anyway. So it won't be Golden State or Cleveland going.

Q. Any thoughts on the stand the black players made?
LEBRON JAMES: Well, I mean, listen, we have a lot of freedom in our country. Guys -- men or female -- have the right to do what they want to do in a very respectful manner. I think if they decided they don't want to go, then they have the right.

Q. To follow up on that, the Pats sent half their team. Then Steph came out and said he didn't have any interest in going. Then you supported Steph on Twitter, I remember. Does it surprise you that the divide just seems to be growing right now after even more than a year of this discourse? It seems that the gap is widening instead of any bridge being found.
LEBRON JAMES: I think as long as he's in office, then the communication and things like that are going to continue to happen. It's a lot of things that we believe in as Americans that we don't feel that he's for. There are a lot of people that believe that he's not for the people or doing things that's right by the people.

So it's not surprising hearing the news today with the Eagles. But I think more importantly, as Americans and especially people in Philadelphia, we shouldn't let that news take away from what that unbelievable team did and accomplished, what all those players did to sacrifice throughout each and every Sunday, going out and playing the style of football that they played and winning a Super Bowl the way they won it. Let's not let that accomplishment of things that you will have for the rest of your life, and people will always call you a champion for the rest of your life, let's not let someone uninviting you to their house take away from that moment. Because I think the championship -- winning a Super Bowl or winning a Stanley Cup or winning a World Series or winning an NBA Championship or National Championship -- is way bigger than getting invited to the White House, especially with him in there, in my opinion.

Q. Just one more layer on that. LeBron, the Minnesota Lynx won the WNBA title this year, a great series, great final game. They didn't even get an invite. You've always been really supportive of the WNBA and women's basketball. What did you think of that?
LEBRON JAMES: I think it's laughable at this point. You always hear the saying: You just laugh to stop you from crying. I think that's a lot of the instances that are going on as far as outside of the sports world. But we know how important sports is to our country and how it continues to bring people together, excite people, make people talk about it, no matter if it's here on this stage here or on the streets or on the bus, in the barbershops, in coffee shops or wherever the case may be. We know sports is so big because it's able to captivate people and bring people together.

For them not to even be invited, playing our beautiful game of basketball -- no matter if it's the WNBA or NBA or little leagues or high school, whatever the case may be, it's basketball. It's our beautiful game. Those women, those girls, they're unbelievable at doing it. I think it's laughable, in my opinion.

Q. You're shooting nearly 50% from the mid range in this postseason. How confident are you in that shot compared to earlier points in your career?
LEBRON JAMES: I'm confident in every part of my game at this point in my career. I don't believe there are any dare shots that you can dare me to take and I'm not confident with making them.

Q. Ty Lue told us he wants you guys to be more physical against the Warriors tomorrow and Friday. How difficult will that be to do that and just stay within your normal game?
LEBRON JAMES: Well, bringing a physicality to a game, I think, has always been a point of emphasis for our ballclub. I think it started from Game 1 of the Indiana series. They were more physical than us, and we realized that the playoffs had started. The guys that hadn't been a part of the postseason realized that the playoffs were here. From that point on, physicality has been a point of emphasis. So I don't think that should change no matter who your opponent is.

Q. Everyone talks about home-court advantage, and you guys have clearly had it through these playoffs. Can you be specific about what it is that makes you play so well in this building?
LEBRON JAMES: Well, first of all, you give a lot of credit to the fans. The fans bring you so much excitement as well. I always believe like the role players play much better at home than they do on the road. They feed off the crowd. They feed off the familiarity with not only being home but being on their home floor, having their own locker and things of that nature.

So I think that's definitely helped us out a lot throughout this postseason thus far. Pretty much in the postseason since I returned a few years ago.

Q. There is a clip that's gone viral of that Game 1 timeout huddle before going into overtime. It seemed like you were just finding out that you guys still had a timeout. What was going through your head at that time? Was it pretty self-explanatory?
LEBRON JAMES: Pretty much. It went viral?

Q. Pretty much?
LEBRON JAMES: Damn cameras (laughing). I haven't seen it. I'm not on social media right now.

Q. Could you elaborate a little bit more?
LEBRON JAMES: You're taking me back to Game 1?

Q. I'm sorry.
LEBRON JAMES: I finally got Game 1 out of my head. You're taking me back, huh? OK. OK. Let me put myself back there.

So if I remember, yeah, I was sitting on the bench and kind of just contemplating the last couple seconds of what just happened, what expired, from J.R. [Smith] dribbling the ball out to G-Hill [George Hill] missing the free throw, actually seeing Draymond [Green] step in early on the lane violation. Asking myself did I have a lane to actually drive it if I didn't. So there were a lot of things playing through my head.

When the game clock went off before J.R. kind of threw the ball to G-Hill to the corner, I actually tried to call timeout. I believe it was Ed Malloy that was right there, our referee. I don't know if I had enough time because I was kind of a little bit still in shock of what was going on at that point in time.

I got to the bench, first thing that came to my mind I was like, OK, I was calling a timeout. But hopefully, I'm glad maybe if we didn't have any, I'm glad they didn't give it to me. I didn't want another C-Webb [Chris Webber] incident. If that happened, then they go to make their free throws and the game is over.

So I asked our coaching staff if we had a timeout. And they told me, yes. I guess y'all probably seen the reaction from that point on.

Q. So that was more so the reaction from not getting the timeout after you were signaling for it?
LEBRON JAMES: Yeah, it was just knowing that we had an opportunity to have another possession, even with the offensive rebound. It was just -- it was just a heartbreaking loss.

Q. You're down 2-0 to Golden State again. Does this 2-0 feel differently than the previous two seasons?
LEBRON JAMES: I mean, I have no idea. I don't know how I felt last year or the year before that. I'm not quite sure. I know it feels like we're down 2-0, and I don't like the way I feel. I don't like the way -- the mood that I'm in right now, knowing whatever. There's no, like, OK, you're down 2-0 and you feel better than when you're down 2-0 before.

I mean, when you're down like this, in a deficit like this versus a team like this, there's no good feeling. So I don't feel good about it.

Q. With that moment between regulation and overtime, like Chris said, it has gone viral --
LEBRON JAMES: Give me one second, sorry. [Addressing previous question again] I don't feel good how I feel right now, not how I feel about the rest of the series. I know how clips can get broken up and somebody can clip that and be like, Oh, LeBron said he doesn't feel good. I personally don't feel good today of the deficit that we have. Not about tomorrow. I feel great about our opportunity. Go ahead.

Q. During those moments between regulation and overtime in Game 1, like Chris said, it has gone viral, meaning you have been getting criticized for not trying to pick up your teammates during that time. Is that fair criticism, not being in your shoes?
LEBRON JAMES: Me? Me being criticized? No. You're saying I got criticized for something, right? I don't believe that. Not me (Smiling). I don't care. I don't care at all.

I mean, we're in the NBA Finals. I mean, how much more picking up of teammates do you want me to do? I'm in the NBA Finals, looking for a championship. All right, appreciate it.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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