After 17 years in the league – which has the potential to become an all-timer – stalled when pro basketball, like other parts of the world, was shut down due to a coronavirus pandemic, LeBron James said it would be difficult to accept an incomplete ending.
“I don’t know if I will be able to close,” James said Wednesday in a Zoom video conference call with reporters, four weeks since the NBA closed.
James, wearing a bushy beard and in good spirits all things considered, responded to a reporter who wondered what it would be like for a 35-year-old superstar if the 2019-20 NBA season could not continue.
When the league closed in March, Los Angeles Lakers come 2-0 weekend fight Milwaukee Bucks and LA Clippers, supporting their place at the top of the Western Conference table. James played spectacularly.
The fourth career championship and even the MVP’s fifth regular season award are not out of the question if James and the Lakers continue their path.
However, if forced to reflect on the season that COVID-19 should have made it impossible to save some sort of season completion, James did have positive thoughts flooding amid obvious disappointment.
“I can feel satisfied with what our team has been able to do this year, having a first-year coach, a first-year system, a completely new coaching staff, bringing so much new work to our team this year,” James said. “Doing the truth – as I told you all year – I honestly don’t think we can be together as fast as we do. I think it will take us far longer than before. But I was wrong. I was very wrong about that. “
James then alluded to everything else the Lakers went through – a season that began with pre-season matches abroad that were nearly canceled by the Chinese government and included the tragic deaths of Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna in a helicopter crash – and could find consolation in how he and “his brothers “sticking together.
“Everything we have experienced throughout this season, only ups and downs – not only on the floor, but from the floor; everything we have to survive as a faithful Laker and we as players and coaching staff and organizations, has been very much,” said James . “So, closing? No. But to be proud of what we can achieve up to this point, I will be able to look back and be like, ‘Okay, we did something special in that small period of time.'”
However, for James, who remains optimistic for the entire call for almost 30 minutes, there is still reason to hope. While he was famous for the first time rejecting the idea of participating in NBA games without the presence of fans – “I didn’t play,” he said last month – he has since softened that attitude.
“If it comes to a point if we play without our fans, we still know that we have a Laker who is loyal to us in the spirit,” he said. “We know they will be at home cheering for us, online, on their cellphones, on their tablets watching us play, so hopefully we can save the energy we know we get from them. The bottle of loyalty they have for not only this year, but because the Lakers are already in Los Angeles, so, hopefully we can channel it. Distribute that energy, channel that focus and take them if we are in Staples without fans or we’re somewhere in a remote location playing basketball. “
He also walked back to the comments he made on the “Road Trippin ‘Podcast” a few weeks ago when hosts Richard Jefferson, Channing Frye and Allie Clifton suggested the league could be restarted if all important personnel – players, coaches, training staff, medical staff, referees , broadcasters, etc. – were quarantined together at the same location for the duration of the match remaining on the schedule and he rejected the scenario, saying, “I won’t go for it —.”
“I really believe [the pandemic is] “Under control and they allow us to continue with certain types of activities, I would love to make the season back on track,” James said on Wednesday. I feel like we are in a position where we can go back and start competing for the championship, returning to do what we like, making our Laker faithfully proud of us, to return to the floor. And if it’s in one single isolated destination … if it’s Las Vegas or any other place that can hold us back and keep us in the best possible chance to be safe – not only on the floor, but also off the floor, too – then the conversation will get . Just looking for a way. “
Meanwhile, James tried to stay ready. Although he said he had not consulted with NBA commissioner Adam Silver about the situation, he had weekly conversations with the Lakers as a group and more often communicated with coach Frank Vogel, president of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka and his colleagues. star, Anthony Davis.
He meditated. He practices four to five times a week in his private gym and visits friends who have a private basketball court at their home to shoot with his 15-year-old son, Bronny.
And he slips into quarantine activities that are used by many people in the country: video games with his sons, tea parties with his daughters, card games with his wife and, yes, he even watches “Tiger King” on Netflix.
“Pretty much anything that has the word ‘king’ in it, I watch pretty much,” said the man holding Instagram @kingjames while laughing. “‘Tiger King,’ ‘Lion King,’ all kings. Yes, I did all that, I watched them all.”
He said he missed the NBA, adding, “That’s for sure,” to show how serious he is. But he tried to accept the time that was found by everyone now.
“I believe that this is a barrier for all of us, not only as Americans, but for the world,” James said. “This is a roadblock, this is a test for us all. This is a test for our mental side, our spiritual side, this is a test for everything. We have grown so comfortable with how we live our lives and everyday life that now is the time to be quiet. “
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