LeBron James says leading the Los Angeles Lakers into the NBA Finals after nearly three months inside the league’s “bubble” in Orlando ranks as the biggest challenge of his career.
The 35-year-old superstar is readying for a 10th NBA Finals appearance on Wednesday when the Lakers face the Miami Heat in the championship round of an unprecedented season that began 11 months ago.
The coronavirus pandemic forced the NBA to shut down in mid-March, and anger over racism and police brutality almost prompted James and the Lakers to abandon the season in August.
James, who is hoping to win a fourth championship ring with a third different team after previous victories with Miami and Cleveland, said Tuesday that this year’s disjointed season ranked as the toughest of the lot.
“It’s probably been the most challenging thing I’ve ever done as far as a professional, as far as committing to something and actually making it through,” James told reporters.
“But I knew when I was coming what we were coming here for. I would be lying if I sat up here and knew that everything inside the bubble, the toll that it would take on your mind and your body and everything else, because it’s been extremely tough.
“But I’m here for one reason and one reason only, and that’s to compete for a championship. That was my mindset once I entered the bubble, once I entered the quarantine process the first two days. The main thing was for us to finish the season and compete for a championship.”
James who in July jokingly compared entering the bubble in Orlando to starting a prison sentence, said he had lost track of time in Florida.
– ‘Feels like five years’ –
“I don’t even know how many days it is. However many days it is, it feels like five years,” he said. “So it really doesn’t matter. I’ve been as locked in as I’ve ever been in my career.”
James said until the Lakers departed Los Angeles for Orlando in July, he hadn’t even been certain that the season would be completed.
“I didn’t know that this was a possibility until we actually got on the plane in LA to fly here to Orlando,” he said.
“Until we landed here, actually got off the plane, got on the bus and pulled up here to the hotel, that’s when it became a reality to me.
This year’s finals pits James against his old team and former coach Erik Spoelstra. James won back-to-back titles with Miami in 2012 and 2013, but departed the franchise in 2014 to return to Cleveland.
James, who is reputed to have had a sometimes tense relationship with Spoelstra during his time with the franchise, said winning against Miami would carry no added satisfaction.
“Absolutely not,” James said. “It’s no extra meaning to winning a championship, no matter who you’re playing against. It’s already hard enough to even reach the Finals, to be in this position.
“If you’re able to become victorious out of the Finals, it doesn’t matter who it’s against. I’m just happy that I’m here with the opportunity to represent not only myself but represent our fans, our fan base, our organization, my teammates, our coaching staff, our training staff and so many others that represent this organization to the utmost respect.”
© 2020 AFP
Trump tries to shame media out of covering the pandemic with frantic all-caps tweet
With one week to go until the 2020 presidential election, President Donald Trump does not want to talk about the novel coronavirus pandemic.
In a frantic all-caps tweet posted Tuesday morning, the president once again ranted about all the attention the media is giving to a pandemic that has killed more than 220,000 Americans in just eight months.
"ALL THE FAKE NEWS MEDIA WANTS TO TALK ABOUT IS COVID, COVID, COVID," the president wrote. "ON NOVEMBER 4th, YOU WON’T BE HEARING SO MUCH ABOUT IT ANYMORE. WE ARE ROUNDING THE TURN!!!"
Despite the president's claims, there is no indication that America is "rounding the corner" on the pandemic.
Cars, electro and sequins: drive-in raves in virus-hit US
Clearly visible from afar with her flashing earrings and sequined jacket, Charity Valente is attending her first drive-in rave: a night of electronic music where the party-goers are in or around their cars, owing to the coronavirus pandemic.
"We've been waiting for live music for seven months," she said, after driving four hours from Pittsburgh to see US jam group "Disco Biscuits."
On a remote hilltop in Scranton, Pennsylvania, dubbed "Electric City" because it was home to the first electric streetcars in America, more than 100 cars are lined up, their headlights trained on the stage where two giant screens have been set up.
‘He doesn’t care’: Kentucky residents bury McConnell for jamming through Barrett while millions suffer
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Monday night crowed about jamming through Amy Coney Barrett's nomination to the Supreme Court -- and then promptly adjourned the Senate until after the election.
The decision to adjourn was particularly striking because it meant that no economic relief would pass the Senate before election day during a time when millions of people are unemployed and under the threat of being evicted from their homes.