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NBA FINALS: HEAT v SPURS


June 4, 2014


LeBron James


SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS: Practice Day

Q.  LJ, you talked yesterday about how you don't need any more motivation but being back here playing in Junesurrounded by Finals signage, all those things, how can you avoid there not being more motivation right now?  And what affect is it having on you?
LeBRON JAMES:¬† Tim, I'm blessed, man.¬† That's all I can say.¬† This is my fifth appearance in a Finals.¬† I'm blessed.¬† I was a kid who watched so many Finals appearances and, you know, watched Michael Jordan and watched Shaq and Kobe, is and we watched throw‑back Finals games of Magic and Bird and Isiah and Hakeem in The Finals.¬† I just wished maybe I could see the Finals verbiage behind me and be a part of this.
Like I said, I don't need extra motivation.  This is motivating enough.  I'm extremely blessed.

Q.  Just to follow up, if it is your fifth time here, how do you keep that feeling new?  How do you keep saying, you feel blessed.  I don't want to say it gets old but this is your fifth time in eight years.  How does that feeling stay the same as it felt in '07?
LeBRON JAMES:  Because for me I just live in the moment.  I live in the moment.  It's an exciting time for not only myself but for my friends, my family, for my city, where I'm from.  Every time I come up here and talk to you guys or I do something, you know, very well on the basketball floor or off the floor, my city is rewarded by that.  So my family is rewarded by that, my friends are rewarded by that.
You know, the kids and all the kids in the world that look up to me are rewarded by that.  That's enough to get me by.  Everything else is extra credit.

Q.  LeBron, when you guys played Spain in the Olympics the first time it was such a good game, people wanted to see it again, and the second time it was just as good and a lot of people feel the same about this series.  Do you think that's possible?  And do you ever say, "It would be cool to play them again," or whoever is in front of you is in front of you?
LeBRON JAMES:  You hope it's going to be a great series for both teams' sake, for the fans that love our game.  You hope it can be one of the great Finals appearances.
As far as seeing 'em again, I think both teams will say it doesn't matter, you just hope that you get back and be able to put yourself in a position to do it again, win, lose or draw, you want to put yourself in a position where you can try to win one.  We're excited about this opportunity to represent the Eastern Conference and we look forward to it.

Q.  LeBron, have you had any conversation with Magic or Jordan or anybody where they put into perspective what it means to have all these Finals appearances?
LeBRON JAMES:  No, no, I never had any conversation with anybody about what it takes to get to this point.  I think I can relive one conversation that I had with Jerry West and with Isiah.  I talked to them after I lost in The Finals my first year in Miami and asked them questions about what it took to get over the hump.  Obviously, I don't know if you guys know the story of Jerry West, the multiple times that it took for him to get over the hump and also Isiah, and they gave me some great pointers, that I like to keep in my Rolodex, until I decide to write a book when I'm done.  But those guys were very helpful.
But for me my role has been kind of walk by myself and learning from experience.  You know, even though I've got so many great words from Isiah and Jerry West you can only live in your own life and on your own path and make your own course, and I've been fortunate enough to do that.

Q.  How much have you changed as a player and person since that Dallas Finals?
LeBRON JAMES:  More than a player, I grew as man.  I have a beautiful family.  I'm a father to two, you know.  I grew even more as man both on and off the floor and I think that's what helped my game.  I understood that I needed to become better after that Finals appearance, and I took onus to it.  I went back to the basics, on every aspect and every sense of the word and up to this point to today.

Q.  LeBron, you have a chance to win your third straight title and knowing how few people have been able to do that, what do you think it would mean for your legacy?  And also how much respect do you have for Tim Duncan the fact that he's been able to keep a franchise relevant for 15 years?
LeBRON JAMES:  To answer the first question, to just be in this position to be able to win a third straight, it's a blessing.  I couldn't ask for more.  This is an opportunity for me to do what I always wanted to do and that's to continue to win championships, that's what I'm here for.
My legacy will speak for itself after I'm done playing the game of basketball, something I can't control.  I worry about what I can control and that's how I approach the game on and off the floor, every single day.
As far as Tim Duncan I think he's one of the greatest to ever play our game.  He is still solidifying his legacy at this point, just because in the sense that he's playing at the one of the highest levels of any guy that's played this long.  To keep this team and this franchise relevant over 15 years is amazing.  To see what he does on the floor every single night and year after year people count him out and count this franchise out, because of this whole old epidemic that we have in sports, just let's you know what type of person and what type of player and passion he has for the game.

Q.  LeBron, I think you were in 8th grade when Tim won his first championship, in '99.
LeBRON JAMES:  Yeah, I was a freshman in high school.

Q.  So something like that.  Do you remember any of that?  I know you have a photographic memory for past things.  Do you remember it?  Did you have any observations of Tim at the time?
LeBRON JAMES:¬† I thought it was weird because it wasn't a full NBA season, and I had gotten used to watching full NBA seasons.¬† And that's what I started to‑‑ I love the game, but that's when I really started to get serious with it.¬† So to see, you know, Tim Duncan out there and David Robinson, it was like, win one for David Robinson.¬† But Tim Duncan was definitely the premiere player out there on the floor and I think it was huge.
I think it was great when you can as a kid, you watch somebody celebrate and win a championship, you hope that you can put yourself in their shoes.¬† Not knowing that I would face him in The Finals years later or even‑‑ this is my third time facing him, so I think it's pretty cool.

Q.  I know you've talked about how long you want to play and eventually there will come a time where you may not be able to play at the level you want, but could you see yourself changing your game in the way that Tim has changed it as he's gone through the years or do you feel like he hasn't changed it all that much?
LeBRON JAMES:¬† I can.¬† When Timmy D first started they were more of an inside‑out team.¬† I think our league was more inside‑out.¬† You would work the ball in the post and if you were doubled, you would kick it out and it was a repost, and they had the team to do it David and Timmy.¬† I think our league has transformed into a pick‑and‑roll team, an outside‑in and if you have the luxury of being able to throw it down in the post, it's like an extra bonus.¬† For them they have a Hall of Famer to be able to throw it down to when games can get erratic with pick‑and‑roll and spread offenses.
I've changed my game since I've got to Miami in the sense that I was probably 75‑85% pick‑and‑rolls in Cleveland and after that it was isolation.¬† Now I'm a third of pick‑and‑rolls‑‑ no, I would say 40% post‑ups, 40% pick‑and‑rolls, and not even as much isos.¬† I would sprinkle it in, and I've changed my game since then and I will change my game.¬† You have to.¬† Father Time is undefeated.
So me high flying and doing the things that I'm able to do now at 29.  At 36 maybe I wouldn't be able to do it.  I will change my game again, if I want to continue to be helpful to a team.

Q.  LeBron, sometimes you hear the people say the Spurs gave it away last year, they should have won it last year.  Do you guys ever slighted when you hear stuff like that?
LeBRON JAMES:¬† Absolutely.¬† I can't sit here and lie to you, Chris, we do.¬† We feel slighted in the fact that the game‑‑ it went seven.¬† It went seven.¬† It wasn't like it was 3‑0 and, you know, they had us in Game 4 and we took it and won four straight.
If you look at the numbers, look at the numbers, the lead changes, the ties and the points in that series, it's almost even.  I don't know the numbers exactly but I know they're very, very, very close from the lead changes to the ties, and to the points.
So we did our part, they did their part.  Both teams put themselves in a position to win an NBA Championship, and we just happened to make one or two more plays to win it.  But at the end of the day it doesn't take away that we did win last year, but that's last year.  Last year is last year and we're excited about it, but this trophy this year belongs to nobody.  It's up for grabs.

Q.  They're motivated by last year.  Are you guys motivated by that at all, too, to be a little more definitive?  I'm sure you will take it however you get it.
LeBRON JAMES:  They are motivated.  I think motivation can only go so far.  How much motivation can carry you to a championship, I'm not sure.  At the end of the day, five, ten guys on the floor, three refs and one basketball.  You gotta make plays.  I can't shoot the ball and say motivation will make it in.  I can't sit in the lane and take a charge and say, motivation, let me get this call.
Motivation, yes, can carry you to some things, I agree, because I had it a lot after we lost in 2011 to the Mavericks, but at the end of the day you have to play the game of basketball and do it the right way and hopefully, you know, you can sit back and say, well, I did everything it took to win.  Win, lose or draw I'm satisfied with it.

Q.  LeBron, last week Frank Vogel called you the Michael Jordan of this era.  Can you talk about what that meant to you?  And what it makes you feel about winning this third title in a row?
LeBRON JAMES:¬† It makes me relevant.¬† I'm always humbled by‑‑ anytime I'm compared to one of the greats.¬† Obviously in all our eyes Michael Jordan is the greatest player to ever play our game.¬† So to be in the same breath as Michael Jordan is very humbling, and it let's me know that I've done something right so far.
As far as the pressure‑‑ I put no pressure on this Finals.¬† I don't really care what people say about me, or how people categorize my so‑called legacy or the way they think I should be.¬† I play this game at a high level and put myself in the position to help our team succeed.¬† I play for my teammates, our team, the city of Miami, my friends and family, and I gave it all for that.¬† And at the end of the day win, lose or draw I'm satisfied with that.¬† I don't get involved in what people say about me and my legacy, I think it's actually kind of stupid.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you. 

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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