LeBron James is headed to his tenth NBA Finals. And to celebrate his historic achievement and the road ahead, he gave a shout out to the legendary Los Angeles Laker who will be watching over his team’s journey to capture another ring for the storied franchise.
On Saturday, James and his Lakers squad won the Western Conference Finals beating the Denver Nuggets 4-1. As they advanced to the NBA Finals emotions were high after the game, with everyone excited about the chance to take home this year’s championship trophy. Speaking to ESPN after the game, James stressed the importance of celebrating the moment but being prepared for what’s to come.
“We’re gonna enjoy tonight as we should because this is not promised,” he said. “But we understand that we got bigger fish to fry. We understand there’s a bigger goal.”
Those are strong words from someone who had just cemented his tenth trip to the finals, making him just the fourth player in history, following Bill Russell, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Sam Jones, to achieve this. But when a reporter asked him what that meant to him, he explained that he’s focused on taking home the trophy at the end of the journey. "Right now, it don't mean sh*t unless I get it done," he said. "I got to get it done."
This energy is the same kind of power that Kobe Bryant brought to the game, becoming a legend in the process and the most legendary Laker in history. James spoke about Bryant’s inspiration as well. “Every time you put on purple and gold, you think about his legacy and what he meant to this franchise for 20-plus years,” he said.
James spoke about the power of Kobe’s “mamba mentality” and how it inspires him. “That drive to always want to be victorious, it stops you from sleeping,” James told ESPN. “You sacrifice a lot of things, you sacrifice your family at times because you’re so driven to be so great that other things fall by the wayside at times. I understand that. I’m one of the few that can understand the mindset that he played.”
The NBA Finals start Wednesday. The Lakers will play the Miami Heat, who defeated the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals on Sunday 4-2.