LeBron James says Nuggets game isn’t his motivation

Dave McMenaminESPN Staff WriterOctober 21, 2023 06:42 pm EST3 min read

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — Five months after being swept out of the playoffs by the Denver Nuggets, just days before the start of another season — his 21st in the NBA — against the same opponent LeBron James was asked about defending his title on Saturday.

“I’m not motivated by the opponent anymore,” James said during the Lakers’ final training camp practice before the start of the regular season in Denver on Tuesday. “I don’t need it. I don’t want to say I’m not motivated to compete because I do have motivation to compete against competitors and I love competing against the best. But I don’t need a person or a team to motivate me. I have Self-motivation. I am enough.”

James ended his 20th season with 40 points, 10 rebounds, and 9 assists in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals. James played the full 48 minutes, but it still wasn’t enough to prevent Los Angeles from losing the game 113-111 and the series 4-0. The 38-year-old veteran told ESPN after the game that he will consider retiring this offseason because this season has taken a toll on him mentally and physically.

The Nuggets went on to defeat the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals, winning their first championship in franchise history and celebrating a bit in Los Angeles. Denver coach Michael Malone was introduced as the “Lakers dad” during the team’s parade. Malone, who once served as James’ assistant coach with the Cleveland Cavaliers, also teased the former player’s feelings about retirement.

“Speaking of the Lakers, I just want you to know – this is breaking news – I’m thinking about retiring, so don’t tell anyone,” Malone said during a guest appearance on “The Pat McAfee Show.”

In June, James appeared to address Malone on his Instagram without revealing his name. “I hear you care about me, huh??? I mean I think I understand why…enjoy your light, but know that I am the sun.”

Asked Saturday what makes him react to the many critics who have leveled at him over his decades-long career and what makes him choose to remain silent at times, James vowed to one day in the distant future Roaring at everyone.

“One day,” James said. “When that moment is, I don’t know. I don’t know if it’s now or… there will be a moment like this in the future. There will definitely be a moment when everyone will understand.”

For now, he’s hoping for a chance to add a fifth title to his already impressive resume.

“(I) still see the Larry O’Brien Trophy in my mind every day,” James said.

Lakers coach Davon Hamm said this week that he believes eight teams are “legitimate contenders” this season and “I like our chances more than anyone.”

James echoed his coach’s confidence but wouldn’t lump Los Angeles among other teams.

“We can be a very, very good team,” James said. He added: “I don’t even watch June. It’s so precious — this game is so precious — and I’m not going to play with the Gods of Basketball like that. I don’t take it for granted.”

On Saturday, Ham finally named his fifth starter for the opener, revealing that Taurean Prince will join James, Anthony Davis, Austin Reeves and D’Angelo Russell Make the first team. Jarred Vanderbilt, who filled the position last season, was reevaluated Friday with left heel soreness and had limited participation in practice. Vanderbilt is listed as an everyday player with the team, and Ham said it’s “most likely” he will miss the game against Denver.

While Vanderbilt continues to improve, Los Angeles is at least getting its leader back to 100 percent after James missed 27 games last season with a right foot injury.

“It took a few months, but when I was able to start training again, I was able to do some things that I hadn’t been able to do throughout the playoffs, maybe even before the playoffs,” James said. He said during training. Offseason rehab. “My training started getting better, my wind started getting better, my quick twitch started getting better. I didn’t have to think about it as much.

“It’s a great feeling to have, just having your motor back.”

Source link

Leave a Comment