Yet, Golden State practically became appointment viewing last season. The Warriors marched toward 73 wins (breaking the Bulls’ 72-win record), and matchups the Spurs (who’d finish with an even better point difference per game than Golden State) were particularly anticipated.
Not that LeBron seemed to care.
While the Warriors were blowing out San Antonio in January, LeBron tweeted:
As Golden State toppled the Spurs in April, LeBron tweeted:
But LeBron apparently did care.
“Return of the King” by Brian Windhorst and Dave McMenamin:
He didn’t like admitting he was keeping such a close eye on the Warriors, to do so would give them a bit of a mental edge. In fact, as the season unfolded, he sometimes posted on social media during Warriors games, commenting about shows or movies he was watching as if to imply he didn’t care about Golden State. It was all a cover; he cared deeply.
James knew Kobe Bryant was going to retire before Bryant made the official announcement in late November. When James came back after home games or on off nights after his kids went to bed or he was on the road in a hotel, he wanted to watch Bryant play in those West games that started at 10:30 p.m. He wanted to savor Bryant’s final days and even take some notes—someday that would be him on the swan song.
But he couldn’t help himself. His eyes would wander to the channel with the Warriors game. What were they doing? Often it was blasting another opponent, their drive both impressive and depressing to James. Whether it was their continuity, their talent, or their desire to shut people up about the “lucky” narrative, they were playing together like a philharmonic. Late in those nights James couldn’t help but compare, and he didn’t like how the Cavs were measuring up.
LeBron’s (attempted-to-be-quiet) obsession with the Warriors paid off with a legendary individual Finals and Cavs championship.
Will LeBron hit the right notes again this year?
Disclosure: I received a promotional copy of “Return of the King.”