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NBA FINALS: SPURS v HEAT


June 19, 2013


LeBron James


MIAMI, FLORIDA: Practice Day

Q. †LeBron, obviously you take your headband off at night to go to sleep.† When was the last time you ever played a game that long without your headband?
LeBRON JAMES:† My rookie year preseason.† I started the preseason off not playing‑‑ I think we were in Detroit in my rookie year.† I didn't play too well.† I didn't like it.

Q.† LeBron, can you talk about just your upcoming moment tomorrow.† Are you antsy, excited, nervous about the situation where the whole spotlight primarily will be on you?
LeBRON JAMES:† I already know that.† It is what it is.† I understand the moment for me.† I've been pretty relaxed, though.† I've been pretty relaxed throughout the playoffs.† I'm going to be antsy, I'm going to be excited.† I'm going to have some butterflies.† I'll be nervous.† Everything.† That's how I should be.
The moment is going to be grand.† Like I said, I'm happy to be a part of it.

Q.† I saw the way you walked off last night from here.† How does your body feel now?† What do you do over the next 30 hours or so to get ready?
LeBRON JAMES:† I feel better today than I did last night already.† So I'm going to do my extensive treatment.† Do whatever it takes‑‑ if I have to play 49 minutes again tomorrow night to help us win, I'm going to do it.† Nobody's body is feeling great at this point from both teams.† But for me it's all about‑‑ it's more mind over matter, man.† I'm hurting.† But it doesn't matter.† It's the last game of the season, so it's whatever.

Q.† LeBron, you had I think it was 14 or 16 points in the paint in the fourth quarter and in overtime in that game, which is more than you had any game this series.† Was that your aggressiveness or something they allowed you to do there as well?
LeBRON JAMES:† It's a little bit of both.† It's also the lineup with myself, Bird, Ray, Rio and Mike, it creates a lot of space.† With Mike and Ray, they stayed home on those guys a lot, it allows me to get downhill and get to the paint.† I started to be more aggressive, I started to find some cracks and able to finish some.
But it's a little bit of everything.† Me just trying to be aggressive and put myself in a position where I can succeed to help our team, kind of overcome that 10‑point deficit, and I was able to do that.

Q.† LeBron, when a team loses, especially losing a heartbreaker as the Spurs did last night, you often walk away with the plays still replaying in your head, things that went wrong.† Is it the same thing with a win in that fashion?† Were you leaving last night with that replaying?
LeBRON JAMES:† Absolutely.† I didn't sleep last night either.† The Spurs didn't sleep.† You probably couldn't sleep.† I didn't sleep last night either just thinking about all the plays, the positive plays, the miscues they had, especially for me personally, my turnovers I had late in the game.† I've done that in a few games in the postseason that I'm not too proud about.
So I was going through a lot of plays and ways that I know what I can't do in Game 7 if we want to win another championship.
So, you know, everything goes through your mind after a game.† It's usually the negatives more than the positives.

Q.† LeBron, have you chosen to accept at this point that no matter if you win one title or a bunch more after last year, criticism is always going to be there and it's always going to be really intense when it comes to you?
LeBRON JAMES:† Yeah.† Yeah, it is what it is.† That's okay.† It won't stop me from loving the game, playing at a high level, doing it for my teammates, putting that uniform on.
First of all, I mean, I'm blessed, man.† I don't even know how I got here.† I wasn't supposed to be in the NBA, if you go by statistics and things of me growing up where I grew up.† Every time I go into my locker room and see the "James" on the back of an NBA jersey, I'm like wow, no criticism can deter me from playing this game because of that.† I'm not supposed to be here.† The fact that I'm doing what I'm doing and doing it for my teammates, it's all that matters.

Q.† You often speak of your knowledge and appreciation for history of the game.† There's not many franchises in your lifetime that have gone back to back.† Have you been able to avoid thinking about what that would mean tomorrow night?
LeBRON JAMES:† I thought about it for sure.† It's human nature.† I want to go down as one of the greatest.† I want our team to go down as one of the greatest teams.† And we have an opportunity to do that.
Hasn't been many peoples to win back‑to‑back championships.† It's so hard.† It's the hardest thing.† I said last year it was the hardest thing I've ever done, winning my first.† Last year don't even come close to what we've gone through in this postseason and in these Finals.
So I'll be there tomorrow night.† I'm going to give it my all.† I'm going to leave everything on the floor.† Whatever happens happens.† I'll be satisfied with that.

Q.† LeBron, first off, do you go back to the headband tomorrow or do you leave it?
LeBRON JAMES:† (Laughing)† I'll probably start off with it, man.† A little superstitious.† If it gets knocked off, then me and him will have a discussion if he will return.

Q.† Obviously you're on the court playing, but do you sometimes get an appreciation for what you guys put the fans through from an anxiety standpoint?
LeBRON JAMES:† Oh, man.

Q.† A lot of fans left with 30 seconds left and tried to get back into the arena.
LeBRON JAMES:† Oh, man, absolutely.† I just know in my household, my wife was like, "Would you please stop doing that to me?"† My mother‑in‑law, even my sons, they were like, "oh, my God.† You guys lost and won at the same time."
I know.† We know.† I apologize to our fans from last night.† But the game is‑‑ that's why the game is played all the way to zeros.
As a fan and people watching at home, I know it had to‑‑ wow, it had to do a lot to them, both if you were a Spurs fan or a Heat fan or just a general fan of the game.† It definitely brought everything out of you that you probably didn't think you had.

Q.† LeBron, you talked about it, everybody talked about how much more aggressive you were in the fourth quarter.† And people say, why wasn't he like that in the first three quarters?† Talk about your mindset in the game and answer that question.
LeBRON JAMES:† I think opportunities are different from quarter to quarter.† My opportunities were more open in the fourth quarter, and I decided to take advantage of it.† I started off pretty aggressive last night.† I was able to get to the free‑throw line early.† I got a couple of lay‑ups.† And then I started to‑‑ I got out of rhythm, missed a couple of lay‑ups, missed a couple of jumpshots.† And offensively as a team we weren't good at all.† Especially in the third quarter.† So we were all out of rhythm.
But in the fourth quarter we were able to find a rhythm with that lineup we had.† I was able to find a rhythm.† And I was just trying to be aggressive and trying to will the victory for us to just keep our hopes alive.† Like I said before, I'm just blessed I was able to make a few plays to help us keep going.

Q.† LeBron, you can't control the opinions about this team, but just for you and what you set out to accomplish when you came here, do you need this championship in your mind to validate your guys' decision to team up and what you tried to create here?
LeBRON JAMES:† I mean, I need it because I want it, and I only came here‑‑ my only goal is to win championships.† I said it, this is what I came here for.† This is what I wanted to be a part of this team for.
As far as validation of me being here, I don't really‑‑ I don't think so.† That side doesn't really matter to me about what validates us coming together.† The camaraderie and the friendship and the teammates and what we've done over the three years can never be replaced.
So for that side, no.† But I want it.† And I'm going to do‑‑ I'm not going to cut no corners.† I'm not going to cheat the game.† I'm going to work for it.† We're not entitled to win it.† We have to work for it.† So that's what I'm here for.

Q.† LeBron, you talked last night about you were going to go down firing all your bullets.† When you're in a situation like that, how does the mode change?† Is it like a switch, boom?† And when you get in a mode like that, I imagine you feel that nobody can stop you.
LeBRON JAMES:† Yeah.† When you get into a rhythm, you do feel like you can't be stopped.† I wasn't perfect last night.† Like I said, I made some critical mistakes that I can't make again if we want to win.† But for me when I go out and I play as hard as I played last night or I do‑‑ try to make plays what I feel is better for the team or what's best for the team, then I can always be satisfied with the results.† I was happy with that.

Q.† Also no road team has won a Game 7 in The Finals in 35 years.† How much of an advantage do you feel now being at home in Game 7?
LeBRON JAMES:† Hey, man, history is always meant to be broken or rewrote.† So we can't worry about what the history books say.† That's why it's history.† We have to live in the present.† We have to live in the moment.† And we have to do whatever it takes to bring that trophy or to keep that trophy here in Miami.

Q.† LeBron, given how important the next 30‑something hours are and what you know about yourself and what makes you at your best, explain how you will try to prepare yourself mentally for that moment so you are at your very best.† Is it light‑hearted?† Is it serious?† Is it a combination?
LeBRON JAMES:† It's going to be light‑hearted.† I'm going to spend a lot of time tonight with my friends and family, like I always do the night before a game.† We're going to laugh and joke about things that has happened in the past.† Got a few of my high‑school teammates, friends, my best friends in town.† My two boys are here.† So they're not going to let me be too serious.† They're going to make me watch Sponge Bob or something at 9:00.† You like that?† That little kid likes that.
It's going to be light‑hearted around the house, man.† That's what keeps me‑‑ it keeps me‑‑ you don't want to think about the game too much.† I understand it's a huge game.† It's probably going to be one of the biggest games, if not the biggest game, of my life.† But I'm going to just keep it the same way I've been doing, and tomorrow night I'll be able to focus in about on the job at hand.

Q.† Will you play the game out mentally at any point between now and the start?
LeBRON JAMES:† Oh, the game‑‑ absolutely.† I imagine that if I fall asleep.† If I get any sleep tonight, it will be played in my head, us winning.† It's happened all postseason.† While I'm up, I'm going to think about ways I can help the team, certain situations, certain plays that I can get better with.
I will play Game 7 in my head from now until tomorrow night.† It's just who I am, how I am.† But I won't be too serious.† I won't go into a bunker when I get back home.† But I will be mentally sharp, mentally focused and mentally driven tomorrow night.
And Iím getting up better than last night (laughter).†

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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