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June 11, 2012

LeBron James


Q.  Your two Finals experiences you've had so far haven't exactly been the best experiences, I would imagine.  How is that shaping the way you're coming into this thing?
LEBRON JAMES:  I just feel more at ease now.  My third appearance.
Last year, so much had gone on with that series and the whole season.  And like I said, I played too much to prove people wrong last year, instead of just playing my game and doing what needs to be done.
And then the first, I was young, inexperienced.  We had an inexperienced team, and the San Antonio team did what they wanted to against us in that first experience.
For me, I'm just at ease now.  At the end of the day in this series, I'm going to play my game, try to do whatever it takes on both ends to make plays and help us win.  And at the end of the day, whatever the results happen, I'm going to be satisfied with that.  I'm going to be happy with it because I know I'm going to give it my all, and I won't leave nothing behind.

Q.  It's already been said, people are going to keep saying it, the winner of this series gets to be called the best player in the game, whether it's you or Kevin.  Is that a fair statement, or do you consider yourself maybe you're already the guy?
LEBRON JAMES:  I don't really care.  I don't really get involved in the best player in the game.  It doesn't matter to me, really.  When I go out on the basketball court each and every night, I want to be the best player in the game.  I want to be the best player on that floor, and that's just how I approach the game.  So I don't really care what people say at the end of this series if KD or LeBron is the best player in the league.  It has to happen at some point anyways.  I won't be the best player in the league, KD will be, and then KD won't be the best player in the league at some point.  It happens all the time.  It doesn't really matter, so I don't care.

Q.  When we talked about taking that different approach, not trying to prove anyone wrong, trying to play your game, what was your intention going into it?  But when it turned out to actually do it, has it been harder than you thought, easier than you thought?
LEBRON JAMES:  A little bit of both.  There's been sacrifices that have been made throughout this whole season.  I had to get out of a lot of my comfort zone, a lot of things that I was comfortable with I had to‑‑ I had to change some things both on and off the floor, but it's always great when you put your mind to something, you strive to do something, and then it rewards you.  It's been rewarding to this point, but like I said, I'm happy that I'm able to be back in the position I was a few years ago when I was just playing the game at a high level, having fun, and then whatever the chips laid, I was satisfied with it because I know I gave it my all.

Q.  Dwyane was saying they're going to need you to play at that level that you've been performing at some of these games you've been producing.  How draining was Game 6 and 7 for you, and where is your energy level at now?
LEBRON JAMES:  Game 6, I felt great.  I felt great.  Mentally it was draining.  Physically it was draining, as well, but I felt great throughout that whole game.  It's draining when you finally get into the locker room and you just‑‑ you guys always see me got my feet in the ice tub and my knees are wrapped.
Then after Game 7, it was even more draining, just the emotions around that series, knowing the team we beat, I mean, it's probably one of the best coached teams that you can ever compete against.  Doc Rivers keeps those guys prepared, and they have four future Hall of Famers in Paul, Rondo, KG and Ray.  It's challenging going against those guys.  So it was very draining not only Game 6 and Game 7, but series in general.

Q.  You mentioned earlier your first trip to The Finals in 2007, you went against a very experienced team in San Antonio.  What's your view on how much experience matters in the NBA Finals having been there before?
LEBRON JAMES:  I don't know.  I mean, it all depends.  But if you've got a great team and you're coached well, you know you can always succeed, as well.  But I just think for me, in '07, I don't think as a team we had a good enough team to get there, but I don't think‑‑ I said it in the press conference after we lost The Finals that we'd got beaten by a better team.  They were better than us and they showed us.  We beat us four straight games, and they showed us why they were champions even before that Finals.
But I don't know how much experience plays into a Finals.  We were two experienced teams last year, and Dallas was victorious.  We'll see.  We'll see what happens.

Q.  From the moment you guys came together, you guys were kind of overwhelming favorites and had the target on you from day one.  You come into this series where the Thunder is favored.  Is that a little weird and is that maybe a little welcome?
LEBRON JAMES:  It's not weird, it's not welcoming.  It's a seven‑game series.  The two best teams in the league right now.  It doesn't matter who's favored and who's not favored.  Just got to go out there and play.  It's a 48‑minute game, and whatever team plays harder or is more composed and makes the right plays at the right time in that particular game is going to win.

Q.  Do you walk into this Game 1 with a different sense, a different feeling than you did a year ago in any way?
LEBRON JAMES:  I have a different feeling as far as comfort, but I still went into Game 1 last year with a lot of‑‑ I mean, I was focused, and we wanted to win that game, and we did win that game.  We played well that game.  But I don't know, we was at home, this one is on the road, so it's going to be more challenging for us.  But we look forward to the challenge.

Q.  Beyond the summer workouts and the game at Morgan State with Kevin, where did your relationship begin with him, how did it develop, and where is it right now?
LEBRON JAMES:  Well, our relationship has been growing since he was in high school, all the way through Texas and all his years in the NBA.  For me, I understood what the situation he was getting himself into being drafted as high as he was, and the things that came with being drafted to a team that needed a marquee player or a superstar.  You know, from day one I always lent my hand out to guide him if he needed it, to help him, to mentor him if he needed it through anything, and that's on and off the floor, because to that point I seen everything, and I'm still learning but I've seen everything on and off the floor.
Our relationship is really good.  Our relationship is going to continue to grow, and I'm happy to be in this position where I can compete against him.

Q.  You've had a lot of introspection this year.  You've talked about it, changing things.  I guess looking back to last season in The Finals, I mean, what exactly happened and how can you avoid similar‑‑
LEBRON JAMES:  What do you mean what exactly happened?

Q.  Well, obviously the last series you were averaging 33 points a game against Dallas.
LEBRON JAMES:  I didn't play well.  I think I said that 100 times this year.  I didn't play well.  I didn't make enough game‑changing plays that I know I'm capable of making, and I felt like I let my teammates down.  I don't know.  I don't know if that's something I haven't said before.  Just didn't make enough plays.
I'm happy, and I'm humbled that I can actually be back in this position less than 12 months later to do a better job of making more plays, more game‑changing plays out on the floor on a bigger stage.  So we'll see what happens.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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