'The grass isn't always green'

Interview

'The grass isn't always green'

On Thursday night in Miami, lining up against a fiery San Antonio Spurs, LeBron James showed why he was referred to as the ‘Chosen One’ well before he entered the NBA with the Cleveland Cavaliers ten years and three days ago.

The 28-year-old LeBron has had to endure a lot in terms of criticism and even more so in comparison. The Akron product was always compared to a seemingly incomparable Michael Jordan in his early years but it began to wane as his title drought continued up until 2012.

For now though LeBron can take comfort in the fact that he has done more than Jordan did as a 28-year-old Chicago Bulls guard. LeBron has won four league MVPs (Most Valuable Player), two championship rings and two Finals MVPS, while Jordan had one ring, two league MVPs and one Final MVP.

It will remain to be seen if LeBron can ever reach the highest echelons of the sport Jordan carved out for himself eventually, but for now it is safe to assume that ‘King James’ is on his way.

Deccan Herald caught up with the man behind what could soon turn into a dynasty in Miami over an email interaction.

Excerpts:

Eight years of criticism and heart-ache before you could win your first title and now you’re a multiple champion. Has it sunk in yet?

No not quite. The vision that I had when I decided to come here is all finally coming true. Through adversity, through everything we've been through, we've been able to persevere and to win back-to-back championships. It's an unbelievable feeling. I'm happy to be part of such an amazing organization.

Is this the making of a dynasty?

I hope so. This is what it's all about. I came here to win championships and two championships in three years so far is the ultimate. I don't want to think about next year right now, what our possibilities are next year. We have got to take full advantage of this one. It's an unbelievable moment for our team.

How have you improved as a player over the years, and how did that help in the Finals?

I said before the series that I was a better player than I was last time I faced the Spurs (in the 2007 Finals with the Cleveland Cavaliers). It didn't look that way the first couple of games but I stuck with it. Through all that adversity and throughout, I guess, the rhythm that I was in at that point, I just kept going. I just trusted all the work that I put into my game. To be able to come through for my team-mates in the biggest moment on the biggest stage makes me more satisfied than anything in the world.

Was this win tougher than the one against Oklahoma City Thunder last season?

Last year when I was sitting up here with my first championship, I said it was the toughest thing I had ever done. This year I'll tell the guy from last year that he's absolutely wrong. This was the toughest championship. Everything that we've been through this post-season, especially in these Finals, to be down -- we were down every odd game. We were down 1-0. We tied it. We were able to take a lead, but then we were down. We were down -- we were scratching for our lives in Game 6 down five with 28 seconds to go. To be able to win that game and force a Game 7 is a true testament to our perseverance. It meant a lot for us to be able to do that and force a Game 7 and being able to close out at home.

You guys found it hard to contain Tony Parker in the first couple of games but as the series moved towards Game Seven, you managed to shut him down. How?

Just pressure I guess. Trying to keep a body on him at all times.  I think more than anything, having guys back in transition.  I think we all know, if you have watched the NBA over the last ten years, Tony Parker is always in the top five, ten at points in the paint. It comes from early transition buckets and also comes from half-court sets when guys are just not alert. So our number one key with Tony Parker was that when the ball went up, made or misses, we had to get three guys back. The simple fact that we just keyed in on our details defensively, it helped us out a lot.

Where does LeBron go from here?

I have a few goals. One of my first goals is to continue to inspire the youth to want to play this game of basketball or to be better at whatever they do. I love kids. Hopefully, I was able to inspire a lot of children with this win. Inspire millions to believe — no matter what they've gone through in their lives at that point in time — they can always overcome it. That's the first thing. Second thing for me is to continue to lead my team-mates. Every single day in practice, every single day in film sessions, I know the grass isn't always green and there's going to be trials and tribulations. But hopefully I can continue to be the leader for my team-mates. And then lastly, I want to be, if not the greatest, one of the greatest to ever play this game.

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