October 8, 2020
Los Angeles Lakers
Q. We've asked you this basically every round, but close-out games you've won 16 of the last 17. You said your mindset is about finding a way to be as desperate as the other team. It seems like that would be so much easier said than done. How do you find a way to do that?
LeBRON JAMES: Just who I am. Just the way I prepare my mind, prepare my body, prepare for the moment. Just having that desperation coming to a close-out game. I've been victorious after having that mindset. But that's just who I've become and how I've challenged and channeled my mindset. Living in the moment and not taking it for granted and just channeling that desperation, just knowing that the opponent and the man that's across from you has that same feeling. That's what it is.
Q. The Executive of the Year Award just came out and I think Rob [Pelinka] finished fifth or sixth. We know how you guys feel about Defensive Player of the Year. We heard what you said about MVP. Typically, individual accolades come with great team success and you guys had it. Do you have any idea as to why maybe it hasn't happened on this team, those individual accolades?
LeBRON JAMES: You'd have to ask whoever voted.
Q. Looking at what you did this year, being I think the oldest to be a first-time assist champ and being back on this stage with a third different team -- you don't need the list. The fan vote for MVP, I think you won pretty easily. What has this year done for legacy? Or do you think that no matter what you do from today forward, the legacy is already kind of written?
LeBRON JAMES: I don't really think about it too much. I think the story will be told how it's supposed to be told and be written how it's supposed to be written. But I don't live my life thinking about legacy. What I do off the floor is what means more to me than what I do on the floor. Seeing my kids on the back of a Wheaties box yesterday was one of the best moments of my life. Seeing my mom unveil the box back in my hometown of Akron, Ohio, yesterday was some of the best news, videos and pictures that I've ever seen, that I could ever get.
The game of basketball will pass me by. There will be a new group of young kids and vets and rookies throughout the course of this game. So I can't worry about that as far as on the floor. How I move, how I walk, what I preach, what I talk about, how I inspire the next generation is what matters to me the most. And if you appreciate my game, then cool. If you didn't, then that's cool, too.
That's what it boils down to.
Q. You guys are going to wear the Black Mamba uniforms tomorrow. I want to know if you recall the first time seeing them either when the Lakers wore them a couple seasons ago or when you first got your hands on it. And you are a guy who has aesthetic opinions. What did you think about that look?
LeBRON JAMES: I thought they were cool from what I saw when they wore them a few years ago. Obviously, until you get your hands on them, you don't get to see the detail in them. It's super-duper detailed. It has that snake Mamba print on it. It means something. Something more than just a uniform. It represents an individual who gave the franchise 20 years of his blood, sweat and tears and his dedication to his craft, both on and off the floor, to make that franchise be proud of him, and hopefully vice versa.
I think last year we got a Shaq jersey. Magic did one, as well. I think it's just pretty cool when you know you're wearing a uniform that a legend had his hands on.
Q. The fact that you're potentially one win away from going home and being reunited with a lot of people that you want to see and care about, does it make it harder to kind of prepare the same way for this game than any of the others?
LeBRON JAMES: Absolutely not. Absolutely not. I have a support system at home that's taking care of that and that allows me to focus on my job. So when I get home, I get home. But I've got a job to do.
Q. You've talked about AD so much during this run, but I'm curious about the relationship pre-2018. I think it was December of 2018, you mentioned to Dave about how it would be amazing to play with him. You've talked about 2012 in the Olympics. What was the evolution of the two of you between that time, and when did you decide, in terms of possible partners to do this thing, that this was the guy that you wanted to be with?
LeBRON JAMES: First of all, you just look at his one year at Kentucky and what he was able to produce for that program in one year. His ability to outrun guards, ball-handling with the smalls, block shots, catch lobs. I remember one game, I think they were playing North Carolina and he had the game-winning block. He had the game-winning block, I believe it was versus John Henson if I'm not mistaken, if my basketball mind is correct. That block was incredible, and they won that game. Then you just look at his run throughout that whole March Madness. He was just beyond the best player in college basketball.
We get to [the Olympics in] 2012 when he's a young Anthony Davis, and he soaked up everything. He was not a rookie that came in and thought he knew it all or felt like he was who he was, the National Player of the Year and national champion and so on and so on. He came in with a sponge mentality right off the bat, just soaking up everything from myself, Kobe, D-Wade, Melo, so on and so on and so on. You knew right then how great of a kid, how great of a player he was going to be just from that.
I mean, in '18, I guess it was known; don't need to be said. You look at a guy who can do everything out on the floor versus anybody, and you have visions of what that could look like if you were to team up.
Yeah, I was speaking just true from the heart and from a basketball mindset. Dave paid for it, I paid for it, for that moment. But I didn't care, because I just know how special he is.
Q. You've been a Laker now for two and a half calendar years. I'm wondering what you've learned in that time about what it means to be part of this franchise. And then the second is, could you share a little bit of how your relationship with Jeanie has evolved over the last couple years?
LeBRON JAMES: Well, one, what I've learned being a Laker is that the Laker faithful don't give a damn what you've done before. Until you become a Laker, you've got to do it with them, as well. They don't care about your resume at all until you become a Laker. Then you've got to do it as a Laker, and then they respect you. I've learned that.
My relationship with Jeanie I will say is incredible. I think she's an unbelievable owner. I think she's a powerful woman. I think what she believes in is an extension of her father, and continuing to build this legacy of this great franchise. I'm just happy to be a part of it. I'm happy to have the relationship that I have with her and with Linda Rambis, as well. It's very unique. I'm just honored to be a part of it. I love the history of the game and I've read so much about Dr. Buss and his teams and his success. To be playing while his daughter is the owner of the team I think is pretty cool. It just adds to the legacy of this franchise.
Q. I wanted to go back to the uniforms just real quick. Did the decision to wear those tomorrow for Game 5, was that something that came from the locker room? Did the players have a say in that? Were you consulted on whether it was the right time to wear those again?
LeBRON JAMES: No, I have no idea where it came from. I saw on the schedule it was prepared for Game 7, so I don't know where it came from. I'll wear any uniform, to be honest. Just put me on the court.
Q. As you remember when this thing started in the bubble, you were talking about how difficult it can be and was to play without fans. You spoke at length about that. And then separately you were just saying how rough it was to live in the bubble day to day. I'm wondering for both things, when and sort of how you got over it or got through it. How you were able to get over playing without that usual adrenaline rush of the crowd, and when you were able to get your own mind around life in the bubble.
LeBRON JAMES: I don't know. I don't know the exact date. I think it's with anything in life. Something that's different, something that's challenging, something that's uncomfortable. I guess it would be like when I went from the eighth grade to the ninth grade, from middle school to high school. It was uncomfortable, but I got used to it. Or when you guys went to college, for the people that went to college, it was probably uncomfortable leaving home for the first time. Not having your mom and dad's cooking or whatever the case may be, and now you're in a dorm room trying to figure this out. But you figure it out.
It's human. It's just human growth. It's a human mindset. It's a growth mindset. You just figure it out. I kept the main thing the main thing, and everything else took care of itself. You control what you can control. What you cannot control, you don't worry about.
Q. Can you talk about just the social justice movement that's taking place, how guys have used their platform here, and as it comes to an end, where do you guys go from here?
LeBRON JAMES: We know that being here has given us the strength and the numbers. You could take that from the Golden State Warriors: There's strength in numbers. That's a byproduct of us being here, of being able to use this platform to be able to talk about everything that's going on outside of the court. All the social injustice and the voter suppression and so many other things that are just going on, the police brutality and so on and so on and so on. Being here and having the opportunity to talk about these issues and continuing to understand that this world is not just about basketball, even though we live in a small piece of the game of basketball. There are so many bigger things and so many greater things going on. If you can make an impact or you can make a change or you can have a vision, it just helps out so much not only in your community but all over the world.
Where do we go from here? We don't stop. Obviously, when the season ends in less than a week, everyone disperses and goes back. But I hope people continue to use their platform. Use their individual social media platforms, if they're doing it that way, or if you are an individual that goes into your community and does it that way. However you can continue to create change for the better of all of us, it only makes us all better. It doesn't matter what race you are, it doesn't matter what color you are, no matter how tall or whatever the case may be, because we all want to see better days. No matter if you agree or don't agree with some of the things that are going on, I think we'd all love to see better days and see more love than hate.
I know I do my part, as much as I do, on continuing to create change, continuing to educate, continuing to enlighten my community and communities all over the world that listen to me and follow me throughout my journey. Like I said, you control what you can control, and what you can't, sometimes as much as it hurts, you just try not to worry about it.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports