MIAMI — This was a different LeBron James.
The LeBron James that went through practice and spoke with the media Wednesday was different from the one at last year’s finals — a more mature, more relaxed LeBron who was comfortable in his own skin in a way he simply was not before. Different than the guy from “the decision.”
A reflective LeBron recognized the changes in himself.
“Last year after Game 6, after losing once again, I was very frustrated,” LeBron said. “I was very hurt that I let my teammates down, and I was very immature.
“Like I said, last year I played to prove people wrong instead of just playing my game, instead of just going out and having fun and playing a game that I grew up loving and why I fell in love with the game. So I was very immature last year after Game 6 toward you guys and toward everyone that was watching.”
LeBron said that last year he felt the pressure, but this time around it is not getting to him.
“Last year (the pressure) was much more than today,” James said. “I remember being Game 5 last year with the series tied 2-2, it just felt like more pressure, felt like it was more people here, felt like you guys (in the media) not only brought yourselves but brought your relatives all to Dallas. It just seemed more.
“And I may be wrong. I probably am wrong about that. But I’m just more comfortable. I think just me being more comfortable and me just trying to seize my opportunity.”
He gets his first chance to seize the Larry O’Brien trophy on Thursday.
LeBron also said that he felt “a lot better” than he did the night before after his legs cramped up in the fourth quarter. He expects to be ready to go full tilt Thursday night.
You know a meme has jumped the shark when it appears on Jeopardy. (Also, the phrase “jump the shark” has jumped the shark.)
The “crying Jordan” meme reached that level this week when Alex Trebek asked a question about it.
This in no way means we should stop using the crying Jordan meme — even if it bothers MJ himself, and it does — because it’s still funny.
Training camp hasn’t even opened yet, but Charles Barkley is already in midseason “get off my lawn” form.
Barkley — the man who can’t stand jump shooting teams, or analytics, or LeBron James asking for better players, or your newfangled technology — went off on another tedious rant at an SMU event Wednesday, this time about the NBA’s decision to start the season a little earlier and have fewer back-to-backs and eliminate four-games-in-five-nights.
Ugh. Like a lot of former players — and a lot of non-athletes, for that matter — Barkley is convinced his peak as a player coincided with the greatest era of basketball ever. Things were never better than the way they did it in his day.
Which means facts — like pointing to the studies that show players both are less likely to be injured and play better and more efficiently when rested — don’t matter. Barkley did it, so players now should have to do it. Who cares if all these packed in games can shorten their careers?
Then again, maybe a few days off would have helped Barkley in the second half of his career.
B.J. Armstrong, former Jordan-era Bull turned agent, told me last year that if teams and players knew in his day what they know now about rest and injury, you would have seen stars like MJ rest. Over time we learn more information, and the smart people and organizations adjust.
Barkley will make far more headlines over the course of the season, he gets paid to be brash, say whatever pops into head, and be generally draw attention to himself. It makes him entertaining, and that’s what Inside the NBA is about. But I will defer to Steve Kerr’s comments from last playoffs on all these old “get off my lawn” players.
“The game gets worse as time goes on. Players are less talented than they used to be. The guys in the 50s would’ve destroyed everybody. It’s weird how human evolution goes in reverse in sports. Players get weaker, smaller, less skilled. I don’t know. I can’t explain it.”
There’s so much money floating around the Bay Area right now thanks to another tech boom, this price almost seems low.
If you have a suite for the Golden State Warriors home games this season — and those are pretty much sold out, the Warriors draw big from the Silicon Valley crowd — you can have the NBA championship Larry O’Brien Trophy visit your suite. All for just a couple grand. From Gilbert Lee, via ESPN’s Darren Rovell.
The best part is it includes champagne… do you get to spray each other with it as you hold up the trophy? Now that would be perfect (goggles included, of course).
Have an issue with this? Why? To the victor goes the spoils. The Warriors may be able to sell this package for years.
First, the Sixers nailed the Nike “statement” jersey.
Now, they have announced a new “Spirit of 76” promotion, with seven tribute nights this season honoring the history of the franchise and of the Philadelphia area (and there is plenty of history to honor).
The best part — the “Spirit of 76” court with the bell logo.
Here is the promo vid
I just hope the Sixers team can live up to all the hype.