As the Los Angeles Lakers gear up to take on the Miami Heat, they take time to soak it all in. This is the first time they have been in the Finals since 2009, and the fans could not be more excited. Their leader Lebron James said he is more locked in than he has ever been in his career. To consider everything that is going on outside the bubble and the hard work they had to put in to reach this point, James and the Lakers have to be completely focused.
In the press conference, James stated his energy is focused on pushing the envelope to his communities. He notes that he can only control what he is doing in his initiatives and not others. “I can’t give my energy to the other side, that would take away from my people, I can’t do that. We’re trying to effect change. I got work to do on the other side, and that is what my mission is about.” James has a support system that is motivated to help him take on a few things at once, including a championship and making a significant change outside of basketball.
Playing against the Miami Heat, James got the chance to reflect on his leadership during his playing days with the Heat. “I knew what it took, I saw what it took, but I also fit that culture as well because of how hard I worked.” James acknowledged how hard Miami plays today, whether they are up in a game or down. Being around Coach Eric Spoelstra and Pat Riley helped James grow and see what it takes to win and compete for championships.
Now the Lakers have three veteran leaders, who all have NBA Finals experience in James, Rondo, and Dwight Howard. Howard gave praise to the most high for the opportunity to be back in the Finals, and the last time he played was against the Lakers in 2009. He notes how he never gave up on himself, and Howard looks forward to stepping on the floor. “Hopefully, at the end of this battle we have against the Heat, we’re holding up that trophy.” Howard is in the bubble with his son, and he states it is a great feeling. “It is amazing to have him here in the bubble.” Howard’s son motivated him to be the right example, such as waking up early, going to the gym, and teaching him how to play basketball. He said he told his son, “At the end of the day, I’m going to always love and support you no matter what. He was happy about that. That gave me extra motivation.”
Howard has a tough matchup against the Heat’s key player, Bam Adebayo. He states that you can’t overlook anything that Adebayo has done all year, and he is an essential part of their team. “Watching his progress from Kentucky until now, you can tell he really has grown as a player, and I’m happy about his growth.
I’m looking forward to our match up. I used to call him my twin. It’s crazy to see the development he’s had over the years.”
Howard elaborated on how tough it is to get to the NBA Finals, and the Lakers will take full advantage of the opportunity to bring a championship back to Los Angeles.
Kyle Kuzma is learning what it’s like to be in the Finals with James. He is learning mental toughness; because they are close to what they want to accomplish, it can take a toll on them mentally. “Your four games away from something you always wanted to do since being a young kid. Being extra focused and locked in is going to get us over the horizon.”
Game 1 of the NBA Finals is tonight at 6:00 PM.