October 11, 2020
Los Angeles Lakers
Game 6: Postgame
Los Angeles Lakers – 106, Miami Heat – 93
Q. Three seasons ago after you beat Toronto, you told Cleveland.com that you didn’t have anything left to prove when you were asked what you have left to prove. I wanted to know if that’s changed over the past three years. Did you feel you had something to prove, and why is this one so important for you?
LeBRON JAMES: I think personally thinking I have something to prove fuels me. It fueled me over this last year and a half since the injury. It fueled me because no matter what I’ve done in my career to this point, there’s still little rumblings of doubt or comparing me to the history of the game and has he done this, has he done that.
So having that in my head, having that in my mind, saying to myself, why not still have something to prove, I think it fuels me.
Q. All the circumstances surrounding this one, being in Orlando, having a four-and-a-half-month hiatus away from family, everything going on in the country, how does that add context to this fourth ring versus the other three?
LeBRON JAMES: I think they are all special in their own right. They all have their obstacles, things that went on throughout the course of the year, both on and off the floor.
But one is not less than the other, because when you’re able to put yourself in this position to be able to win a championship, first thing you start to think about is how much work you’ve put in over the course of the year. How much you’ve sacrificed, how much you’ve dedicated to the game and to your craft. That’s always been the most fulfilling thing for me, besides seeing my teammates as happy as they are. Being able to know that you can put the work in, literally trust the process, live about the process and then see the results. I think not only from a basketball player, but from everybody, whatever craft, whatever workspace you’re in, to be able to put the work in and live along the process and build along the process and be able to see results, I think we all live for that moment.
Q. Could you sense with the mental wear of the bubble that it was getting to other teams? And in the last few days, was there kind of a weird feeling of you’re reaching not just possibly winning a championship but reaching the end of this journey? Did that feel different than the other title runs?
LeBRON JAMES: To answer your first question, with so much going on inside the bubble and everything and us going into the unknown, it was kind of hard for me personally — once I got inside here, I said, okay, this is my mission: I want to win a championship; this is why I’m here. It was hard for me to focus on other teams and what other players were feeling. I didn’t engage in that. I didn’t look for it. I wanted to keep my energy in the right space.
And over the last couple days, you definitely thought about it. You thought about just being here, how successful it is. I commend Adam Silver and the NBA, Michele Roberts, Chris Paul and everybody at the NBPA to make this happen and to make this work. I think we can all say from the social injustice conversations, the voter suppression, police brutality, to have this platform, have our players be able to unite like that, it’s something that you will miss. You will think back on it.
I think one of the biggest things, besides the social injustice, all the things I mentioned, we had zero positive tests. We had zero positives tests for as long as we were here, 90-some days, 95 days maybe for myself. I had a little calendar I was checking off. But on a serious note, no positive tests. That’s a success for everybody that was involved.
Q. What about this partnership that you have with Anthony makes it particularly special to you?
LeBRON JAMES: I can’t really explain it. There’s just certain things you just know. And any type of relationship, you kind of just feel, you know that vibe. You have that respect. You have that drive. Sometimes you can’t explain what links you with somebody, and then it’s that organic.
Sometimes, you don’t even try to explain it. You guys ask me about my relationship with AD, the first thing I think about is the respect, the no ego, the challenging each other. We want each other to be better than actually ourselves. I want AD to be better than me. AD want me to be better than him. Every single night, every single day. And we challenge ourselves. I think that’s a part of it.
Q. With about three minutes left, you looked over and you saw Anthony sitting there, probably the realization of what you guys accomplished hitting him for the first time. I’m wondering, how much of that reminded you of 2012 for you? And what did that first title do for your career and what can this do for AD moving forward?
LeBRON JAMES: It definitely reminded me of it, just the excitement, the “I can’t believe this.” I definitely saw myself, 27 LeBron, 27 AD. I definitely saw myself in that.
And what it did for me in my career, it basically let me know that the work I put in on my craft, and the way I play the game, how I was taught to play the game when I picked up a basketball when I was eight years old, it’s okay to play that way and be able to win. No matter how many people tell you, you should maybe shoot more, you should maybe do this more, you should maybe be like him more, it let me know that the way I play basketball and the way I was taught to play basketball is the right way to play it, because you do see results.
And then it just continues to boost your confidence. Not saying that AD doesn’t already have confidence, but it takes it to another level.
Q. You talk about how you can’t focus on other teams and their bubble experience, but for you outside looking in, it seemed like you were locked in from the beginning of the entire journey to now. I imagine you had your days off the court when it comes to the personal sacrifice, when it comes to keeping this group together. Is that the case? Were there ups and downs? How different is just is this championship feeling?
LeBRON JAMES: To answer your first question, absolutely. I think you wouldn’t be human if you didn’t have ups and downs in the bubble. At times I was questioning myself, should I be here? Is this worth sacrificing my family? So many things. I’ve never been without my family this long. Missing the days of my daughter being in kindergarten, even though it’s through Zoom. Missing my son’s 16th birthday, which we all know is a big birthday if you have kids. Seeing my middle child continue to grow and be who he is. First of all, big-time shoutout to the late great Steve Jobs, because without him, without his vision, those FaceTime calls wouldn’t be possible.
Absolutely, I’ve had ups and downs throughout this journey. For some odd reason, I was able to keep the main thing the main thing. When I talked about all the stuff that I missed, they understood that, too, and that made it a lot easier for me.
To answer your second question, it doesn’t matter where it is if you win a championship. A bubble, Miami, Golden State — it doesn’t matter. When you get to this point, it’s one of the greatest feelings in the world for a basketball player to be able to win at the highest level.
Q. Does any one of your championships stand out in terms of the difficulty?
LeBRON JAMES: Well, I can’t sit here and say one is more challenging than the other or one is more difficult than the other. I can just say that I’ve never won with this atmosphere. None of us have. We’ve never been a part of this. If you’ve been here throughout the start — I mean, we got here July 9th. Our ballclub got here July 9th. It’s October what — I don’t even , October 11th now.
So this was very challenging and difficult. It played with your mind. It played with your body. You’re away from some of the things that you’re so accustomed to to make you be the professional that you are. So this is right up there.
I heard some rumblings from people that are not in the bubble, oh, you don’t have to travel, whatever. People just doubting what goes on in here. This is right up there with one of the greatest accomplishments I’ve had.
Q. When you signed with the Lakers, over the course of the first year, Magic stepping down and everything that went into your start here, was there ever a moment where your mind wandered or you thought maybe the hill would be too high or hard to climb to get back to this point in L.A., or if not, how did you know or what gave you faith that you guys would get here?
LeBRON JAMES: What gave me faith is that Rob Pelinka told me he would do whatever it takes to make sure that we would become a winning franchise once again. Obviously, championships are not promised, and I don’t expect that. But he said he would do whatever it takes to make this franchise, whatever personnel changes he needs to make, any part of our organization, he would do it, because he wanted to win just as much.
And for me, being able to get Jeanie back to this point, that’s something that fueled me as well. This is a historic franchise and to be a part of this is something that I’ll be able to talk about and my grandkids and kids will be able to talk about; their pawpaw played for the Los Angeles Lakers. It’s like playing for the Yankees and winning or playing for the Cowboys and winning a Super Bowl, or the Patriots. It’s like playing for the Red Sox.
So to be able to win with a historical franchise is something that, no matter if your mind wavers away, you can always remember what you’re doing it for.
Q. You and Jeanie shared a long hug right after as the trophy presentation was being prepared. Did you say anything to her?
LeBRON JAMES: I don’t want to lie to you. I did, but if Jeanie at some point would ever want to reveal what I said to her, that’s up to her. It was just a special moment and I know how special it was for her. So it was just in the words of, “I’m proud to be a Laker.”FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports