In a lengthy and extremely insightful interview with Ethan Skolnick of Bleacher Report, Miami Heat forward LeBron James opened up about various topics and misnomers that sometimes dominate the narrative within the basketball universe such as the assumption that NBA players bring a little bit less to a matchup when facing a friend.
“It’s a new era, man,” James said. “And there’s nothing wrong with that. It doesn’t take the competitive spirit out of (anything), man. And I think people need to realize that. You don’t have to hate somebody to compete against somebody. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if my mom is on the floor—I don’t want her to win, I don’t want her to score. When I step out on that floor, people know. People know that (when) I go out and I play, the minutes I’m out on the floor, if they’re not ready, I’m going to dominate them. And even if most of the time when they are ready, I’m still going to dominate them.”
LeBron also talks about dealing with the repeated shots someone in his position takes and how sometimes he has to assume the role of the bad guy.
“Sometimes you just get tired of being bashed and having to not say nothing at all, having to take the cold shoulder. And I understand that I’m in a lose-lose situation most of the time. If someone says something about me, and if I say something back, it’s like, ‘Why are you even engaging in that?’ Or, ‘You shouldn’t be doing that.’ Or, ‘Who do you think you are, LeBron?’ I get a lot of that. But there’s only so much a man can take sometimes. And you’ve just got to challenge yourself sometimes to understand; sometimes you should say something, sometimes you shouldn’t.”
The reigning NBA MVP also discussed his popularity or lack thereof amongst his peers and how it affects him.
“No, it don’t matter,” James said. “Nope. It don’t matter to me at all. You’ve got some guys in our league who don’t like me; you’ve got some guys who do like me. I don’t know. I mean, everything that comes back to me, most guys don’t like me.”
“Nah. Nah. When they place me with the Heat, no one likes the Heat. So there’s a lot of guys that don’t like me. But it’s nothing for me to really worry about too much. You don’t have to fear me on the court, but respect me. That’s all that matters to me. As long as you respect me, fear or like doesn’t matter.”
The now two-time NBA champion also realizes that a man with his stature, knowledge and power has a lot to accomplish off the court as much as he has to achieve on it.
“I understand that,” James said. “I believe personally I have a much bigger calling than just putting on a uniform and playing the game of basketball. I don’t know exactly what it is, but I’m going to use what I have, and my knowledge and my power to continue to lend a hand in any way I can. Hopefully that can open up some doors for a lot of people.”