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June 5, 2013

LeBron James

MIAMI, FLORIDA: Practice Day

Q.  LeBron, obviously it took a lot of stress and also gave you a lot of satisfaction to get your first championship.  For your legacy, what would it mean to get multiple?
LeBRON JAMES:¬† I don't play this game for my legacy.¬† I play the game because I love it and I have fun playing it, and I love the competitive side of it.¬† Once I'm done, I don't‑‑ you guys will write my legacy and say what I've done for this game.¬† But that's not for me to worry about right now.

Q.  How about what it would mean to get the second one?
LeBRON JAMES:  That's what I play the game for, is to win championships.  I understand that it's a long process, it's the most difficult thing I've ever had to do playing basketball.
That's what I'm here for.  I'm here to win championships, and you're not always going to be on the successful side.  I've seen it twice, not being on the successful side.  To be able to just put myself in the position to be able to play for one, I'm happy with that.

Q.  LeBron, how will the 2013 version of LeBron James be different from the 2007 version that the Spurs faced in The Finals?
LeBRON JAMES:  Just smarter.  A lot smarter.  More experienced.  Older.  More mature both on and off the floor.  And I think that's the most important thing.  I've matured as a basketball player.  I've matured as a man.  And it has allowed my game to sprout.

Q.¬† We watched you on ESPN all day yesterday when Duncan and you kind of met in the hallway there.¬† It's kind of a cool moment.¬† But when you‑‑
LeBRON JAMES:  It's cool for you guys.  It wasn't cool for me.

Q.  What was it like when you go back to that and you see that and even watch film of that series?
LeBRON JAMES:¬† It's been a while since I've seen the series.¬† I'm pretty good with going back on my mental about what happened.¬† It was tough.¬† We ran against a team that was more superior, more experienced, more better‑‑ that's not even a word‑‑ better than we were at the time.¬† And they took advantage of every miscue, inexperience thing that we did on the floor.
That allowed them to raise the Larry O'Brien Trophy.

Q.¬† Do you have any get‑back in you for 2007 going into the series?
LeBRON JAMES:  I mean, it's a great opportunity.  I have something in me that they took in '07; beat us on our home floor, celebrated on our home floor.  I won't forget that.  You shouldn't as a competitor.  You should never forget that.
It's the same group of guys, for the most part.  The same Big Three, and Coach Pop.  And I look forward to the challenge once again.

Q.  LeBron, can you talk about winning and losing and how losing can fuel you a little more in this kind of situation?
LeBRON JAMES:  Well, I've lost enough.  I don't need any more fuel from losing.  I've lost two Finals.  So I don't need any more fuel from losing The Finals.

Q.  To follow that up, when you look at the San Antonio Spurs, they're pretty old.  I mean, they actually make you guys look kind of young.  Do you feel that?  You guys are the young team coming in.  You guys have been in the league for a long time.
LeBRON JAMES:¬† No, there's not any young teams in this.¬† It's the two best, experienced, well‑coached teams in The Finals.¬† They're in The Finals for a reason:¬† For their experience, how well they're coached, how balanced they are, and their championship DNA.¬† There's no advantages.

Q.¬† LeBron, every series takes on its own life.¬† Obviously the Pacers a more physical team.¬† The Spurs a little bit different.¬† Do you see this as a series where maybe Dwyane and Chris can break out of their funk a little more.¬† Maybe better match‑ups or more conducive to their styles?
LeBRON JAMES:  That's what we hope.  We don't know until the series gets started.  Every team we play causes different problems.  From Milwaukee to Chicago to Indiana and now San Antonio.  So we don't actually know until the series begin.
What we do know is how we're going to play.¬† We're going to play our game.¬† We're going to share the ball. ¬†We're going to attack, try to get to the free‑throw line.¬† And with that attack, myself, D‑Wade, CB are the key ingredients to that attack.
They don't need to put no pressure on themselves.¬† These guys have been to The Finals.¬† D‑Wade has two rings.¬† CB has one.¬† We've been in this position before.¬† They know how to play.

Q.  LeBron, so when Tim had those words after that '07 series, was it hard for you to appreciate it at the time because you were still in competitive mode or did you appreciate he had nice words for you?
LeBRON JAMES:  I mean, it's however you take it, honestly.  He had just won and I just lost.  I don't know.  I didn't remember too much about it until I seen the footage once again.  I appreciate having an opportunity to go against a great team and just use that as motivation to get me better.

Q.  Is it hard for athletes to say "this team was better than us"?  Because a lot of guys when they lose a Finals say, we did this wrong, this wrong.  You right from the start said, "We couldn't have beaten them.  They were better."  Is that difficult to do?
LeBRON JAMES:¬† No, it's obvious.¬† The team beat you 4‑0, are you going to say, "They weren't better than us?"¬† It was obvious.¬† They were a better team.¬† They were more experienced.¬† Like I said, they took advantage of all the miscues we had.

Q.  LeBron, Tim Duncan's numbers this season are almost identical to what they were in 2007.  What do you think it is about Tim Duncan that has allowed him to be so relevant at 37 and to maintain such a high level of his playing?
LeBRON JAMES:  First, I think it's him staying in shape, his conditioning level.  I think it's the great support that they have in San Antonio.  Also I think it's him being a true professional to the game.  Giving everything to the game.  And when you give everything to the game, the game rewards you.  And I think it's all of that.
He's a champion.  He has championship DNA.  And like I said, when you give everything to the game, as far as, you know, sacrifices that you make, the game repays you.  It has allowed him to continue to play at a high level, even at his age.

Q.  LeBron, to that end, as a student of NBA history, how do you think Tim will ultimately be regarded in this era as one of the players of this era?  How do you think he'll be viewed?

Q.  Tim.
LeBRON JAMES:  Probably one of the best players to ever play the game of basketball.  If I just look at the last 15 years, he's probably been the most consistent, most dominant player that we've had as far as 15 years all together.  He's won four titles, multiple All Stars, MVP, and so on and so on.
I think He doesn't get a lot of recognition because he's not flashy like a lot of guys are.¬† He's not jumping over people and high‑flying and doing the things that attracts people to the game.¬† But I think true basketball, true IQ people, players know how great he is.¬† What else can you say?

Q.  LeBron, have you ever watched a Spurs game throughout your career and then gone back to your team that you're playing on at the time and say, we need to do that?
LeBRON JAMES:  I mean, yeah.  Absolutely.  I just think the one thing that you kind of always seen, no matter what, they've always shared the ball and played as a team.  That's winning basketball.  That's something I've always kind of been taught throughout my whole life, especially when I was a kid, moving the ball, and everybody feeling important.  If you move the defense from side to side, something is going to open up for you.  You always see the Spurs doing that.

Q.  What situation do you prefer, to have a rest for nine days and to have a good rest, and to have a rest just for two days but to keep the pace, the winning pace?
LeBRON JAMES:  I'm ready to play now.  I would rather have the two days.

Q.  LeBron, you talked about how much smarter you are compared to the 2007 Finals.  But on the court, your jumpshot, are you more confident now?  And the improvement since then, how does that affect how they guard you this time around?
LeBRON JAMES:¬† I think in '07 they kept‑‑ when I got the ball, they kept me on the sideline.¬† They went under a lot of my pick‑and‑rolls and dared me to shoot.¬† Back in '07 I ran a lot of pick‑and‑rolls.¬† They funneled me to the sideline with Duncan and Oberto and Bruce Bowen and Michael Finley and those guys funneled me to the sideline and dared me to shoot it, and didn't allow me to get to the paint where I did most of my damage back in '07.
If you go into my pick‑and‑roll now, I'm going to shoot.¬† And I'm confident I'm going to make every last one of them.¬† I'm just more confident in my ability to shoot the ball.¬† But at the same time, I also have a lot more weapons this time around going against this team, where in '07 they loaded three guys to me a lot on the strong side of the floor.
So like I said, I'm a better player, AND you can't dare me to do anything I don't want to do in 2013.

Q.¬† LeBron, this year the challenge is going to be on Kawhi Leonard to try to defend you.¬† Can you talk about him as a player offensively and defensively, what he brings to that team and your match‑up.
LeBRON JAMES:  I think he brings athleticism to their front court.  He brings a guy who can guard multiple positions with his length, with his wingspan and his ability to get out in transition and finish.  And also shoot threes in the corner, brings a dynamic to their team that they didn't have before they got him, and Danny Green.
I had Danny in Cleveland with me as my rook, so this is going to be great to go against him.¬† I'm happy for what he's been able to do.¬† I'm looking forward to the challenge.¬† I mean, I've played‑‑ I have had every pretty much good defender that has to offer in these playoffs, from Mbah a Moute to Jimmy Butler to Paul George and now Kawhi Leonard.
So it doesn't change for me.  I'm looking forward to the challenge.  I also play both sides of the floor as well.  I'm not just an offensive player.  I play defense as well.
Not only will I attack my defender on offense, I will attack my offensive player defensively.
THE MODERATOR:  Thanks, LeBron.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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