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September 17, 2020

LeBron James

Los Angeles Lakers

Practice Day

Q. LeBron, the All-NBA Team, 16 times now. It passes Duncan, Kobe, Kareem. There have been a lot of milestones like this. What does it mean about longevity when you think about those threes names?

LeBRON JAMES: Like I said in my post, when I posted about it, I'm truly blessed. I'm kind of at a loss for words. I've been fortunate enough to be able to take care of my body, push my body to the limits, that maybe at times when I was younger I didn't think I could get to.

I never put a ceiling on what I can do in this league. I think one of the things I pride myself on is being available to my teammates. It's allowed me to sit here at this point and talk about what we're talking about now.

Anytime I'm linked with some of the GOATs that have played this game, it's an unbelievable thing. You mentioned Timmy D, Kareem, Kobe as well. Just some GOATs that have played this game, paved the way for myself. Hopefully I'll leave it, when I'm done with my career, in a better place than what I started because of what they did, the groundwork they did, the examples they set. Just blessed to be a part of this.

Q. You guys have played six games in the last 20 days, in part because of winning 4-1 both times. How does that feel physically in terms of basketball rhythm, rest?

LeBRON JAMES: It doesn't feel like anything, to be honest. It feels like we're preparing for an extremely dangerous, extremely well-coached, extremely great team in the Nuggets. That's been our only focus. At the same time, we've also been putting in our work individually before we knew who our opponent was, getting our individual work in, team work in, keeping our minds, bodies and souls up to speed, not losing focus of what the main thing is.

We're here to compete for a championship. That's what our mindset has been, no matter how many days we've had in between games, who our opponent has been. We respect all our opponents because they're great teams.

Q. You know what it's like to come back from a 3-1 deficit, how difficult that is. The Nuggets have done it twice. What does that say about them as a team and competitors? And the second question, is your thumb OK?

LeBRON JAMES: To the first question, very resilient, very confident, very driven, very well-coached team. It takes a lot of energy, effort, a lot of desperation to be able to come back from a 3-1 deficit. They did it twice. So the respect level is out of this world for what we have for this ballclub. That's how we're going into this series, understanding what they're capable of, where they stand.

Yes, my thumb is fine. I don't remember what game it was in the Houston series, I tried to block a shot. My thumb got caught in the rim a little bit. Just trying to do the treatment and keep myself healthy for the game. But it won't affect me in any way, shape or form.

Q. Michael Malone, you go way back. Always shown him love when you've been playing against him. What allowed you guys to create that connection, that respect and bond back when you were in Cleveland together?

LeBRON JAMES: When you work hard on your craft, you see others working just as hard on their craft, it becomes organic and it becomes mutual respect. I know how much Coach Mo put into our schemes, put into our productivity, put into what we needed to do to go out and win ballgames when we were together in Cleveland. I saw that.

So the respect level, just seeing what he was putting into his craft, it made it easy for me to grow likeness to him.

Q. A lot of young guys on this Denver team, but there's at least one familiar face in Paul Millsap, a guy you played in the Playoffs a couple times. How do you look back on your battles over the years, what you think it will be like to see him in other Playoff series, what he's done for them?

LeBRON JAMES: He's a winning guy. He was that at Utah in his early days, Atlanta and Denver as well. It's not hard to implement winning players into any situation. That's why it's been so seamless for him. A guy who is always consistent, who does what it takes to help the team win and is always like a sense of calmness. He's a veteran. He's been in Playoff matchups. He's been in big games. For the young guys, someone they can always lean on.

Q. You have high expectations of yourself. With AD and the way he works, is anything you've accomplished or pushed yourself this year a reflection of having him around, seeing the way he works?

LeBRON JAMES: I want to say no because I've never needed anyone to push me. I'm an only child so I had to push myself. But in the sense of being older than AD, I think it's showing him how much I put into my craft, and hopefully it trickles down to him.

I feel like I would be cheating him if he came to be a part of this and I was cheating the game in some way, shape or form. It's not an example I would ever set for any of my teammates, not just AD, but anybody I ever played with. You can ask any of my teammates. I just put that much work into my craft. That's what it's about.

Q. Nikola can do a lot of things, score, rebound. Are you drawn to the way he can see the floor and pass? Seems like you share that ability. How much joy do you get out of that part of your game?

LeBRON JAMES: It's probably the best part of the game, being able to get your teammates involved, putting the ball on time, on target, being able to see things happen before they happen, seeing the reward go to your teammates. It's just the best part of the game.

Q. Do you see that in him?

LeBRON JAMES: Yes. It's just infectious. When you have the best player on the team, one of the best players on the team, not really caring about himself at all for the better of the team, that sends a message to the rest of the group.

Q. (Question about peaking at the right time.)

LeBRON JAMES: Well, it's great to be playing the way we're playing right now. It's the postseason, and that's when you want to kind of hit your stride. We still have a ceiling that we feel like we can get better. It's our job not to put a cap on where we can go. We know as the series goes on, we start to get more and more comfortable with our opponent, with our schemes, with our system of what we want to do. We hope we can continue that in this series.

Starting from Game 1, being as great as we can be, then figuring out ways we can be even better going into Game 2, so on, so on.

Q. The Clippers-Nuggets Game 7, we were pretty shocked by the way it ended for the Clippers. Do you have a different view? Were you surprised?

LeBRON JAMES: I don't have a comment about it really. I was just sitting back and watching the game from a fan's perspective, seeing big shots be made, big plays being made, missed shots, things of that nature. I was also as a scout, scouting both teams at the same time. I was trying to get as many log-in minutes for myself personally scouting both teams at the same time because we knew Game 7 will decide who we'll play. That was kind of my mindset.

Q. Any part of you that got caught up in the chance to face those guys, kind of settle it? That's something we talk about.

LeBRON JAMES: What were we settling?

Q. The discussion about L.A., the clash of the two top teams.

LeBRON JAMES: (Shaking head.)

Q. Frank was praising you and AD not just for your talent but the way that you guys set the tone throughout the season with creating a sense of urgency with the club in practice and film sessions, games. How do you approach that overall this season?

LeBRON JAMES: I mean, it's just who I am personally. I don't like the way season ended for us last year, especially for myself with the injury, the things I went through last year personally, then with our ballclub. I didn't like the way that ended.

My mindset coming into the season was already pretty much locked in just from the summertime, putting in my work, me training, getting up at 4 a.m., train before I was shooting "Space Jam," things of that nature.

When we were able to get AD and acquire Coach Vogel, having the battles I had with him, his Indiana Pacers team, I already knew what he would bring to the table as well.

I was excited about the opportunity to link with Coach Vogel, the players we were starting to sign, things of that nature. That's what it's all about. Just excited, man, to get back to work whenever that was happening. Like I told you guys earlier in the season, my mom told me, Don't talk about it, be about it.

I didn't really say much. Just go out and do your job and live with the results.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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