LeBron James says his 10th appearance in the NBA Finals “don’t mean s—” unless he leads the Los Angeles Lakers to championship glory.
James scored 38 points and tallied 16 rebounds and 10 assists as the Lakers saw off the Denver Nuggets 117-107 in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals to clinch the series.
The four-time MVP is attempting to win his fourth NBA title, having won two with the Miami Heat and another with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Having tasted the disappointment of Finals defeat six times in his career, James knows the conference title will have little value if the Lakers fail to claim a first NBA crown since 2010.
“Right now, it don’t mean s— unless I get it done,” James said to ESPN of reaching the Finals for the 10th time. “I got to get it done.
“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.”
James and the Lakers have had to deal with extremely trying circumstances in his second season with the team.
The NBA world was shaken by the tragic death of Lakers legend Kobe Bryant in January before the campaign was stopped for four and a half months because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“I’ve been fueled all year,” James added. “All year. Even during the shutdown. I was still training.”
James has the chance to become the first player to win Finals MVP with three different franchises having claimed the award with the Heat in 2012 and 2013 and the Cavs in 2016.
“I just want to travel my own journey, because it is my journey. 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,” said James. “But I’ve been able to, I guess as Frank Sinatra would say, ‘I did it my way.'”