'It don't mean sh*t': LeBron James helps Lakers to NBA Finals... but remains unimpressed until they actually win it
James carried his team’s load on Saturday, posting a game-high 38 points to inspire the Lakers to victory over the Denver Nuggets and claim the Western Conference crown with a 4-1 series win.
Already considered a legend of the game, James was never likely to be satisfied with merely winning a Conference title.
His less than jovial reaction is also recognition that, at 35, and with the supremely gifted Anthony Davis as his support cast, this could be James’s last chance of NBA title glory.
"Right now, it don't mean sh*t unless I get it done," James told ESPN.
"There's only two teams that can advance to the Finals every year. That means pretty much 30 players that only advance every year to the Finals.
“We're going to enjoy it tonight, but we understand we have bigger fish to fry. We understand there's a bigger goal, but we can't take this for granted because this doesn't happen every year to anybody."
LeBron James (38 PTS, 16 REB, 10 AST) takes over late, helping the @Lakers advance to the #NBAFinals. This will be LeBron's 9th Finals appearance in the last 10 NBA seasons! #SAPStatLineOfTheNightpic.twitter.com/GqXf4aK3Um— NBA.com/Stats (@nbastats) September 27, 2020
The chance to become the first player in NBA history to win a ring and Finals MVP at three different teams is no doubt fueling James’s fire, having won two titles with the Miami Heat (2012, 2013) and one with the Cleveland Cavaliers (2016).
As is the awareness of how much a NBA title would mean to the city of Los Angeles after the death of their favorite son, Kobe Bryant, who perished in a helicopter crash in January.
James, however, is determined to carve his own legacy in Lakers folklore, insisting: “I just want to travel my own journey, because it’s my journey.”
The NBA’s all-time postseason leading scoring added: "I've been fueled all year. All year. Even during the [Covid-19] shutdown. I was still training.
“I've appreciated everything that's happened along the way. I mean, throughout - the ups, the downs, the ups on the court, the downs on the court, the wins and losses.
“But I've been able to, I guess as Frank Sinatra would say, 'I did it my way.'"
Fans took to Twitter after the Lakers’ win over the Nuggets to get behind James in his tunnel-vision mission to become a four-times champion.
“#LebronJames got that look in his eyes,” one observer noted.
Another mocked the Lakers’ cross-city rivals, the LA Clippers, who threw away a 3-1 lead over the Nuggets in the Western Conference Semi-Finals.
“No more comeback this time for Denver. We not the FLIPPERS.”
While another declared: “I remember when people was saying #lebronjames would not go to the Finals if he was in the Western Conference. How do that taste right now?”
Another noted the winning mentality James shares with the Black Mamba Bryant.
“Peep the #24 on his finger #lebronjames got that #mambamentality he doing this #kobe.”Also on rt.com 'It p*ssed me off': LeBron James vents after being SNUBBED for NBA MVP award