While many of his NBA contemporaries are eyeing playing opportunities abroad during the lockout, Miami Heat forward LeBron James has been busy working on his game at home.
Still feeling the sting of coming up short against the Dallas Mavericks in June’s NBA finals, James has spent a great deal of time in Houston this summer working with Rockets great Hakeem Olajuwon. James wants to improve his game and there is no better teacher than “The Dream.”
''I look at what he was able to do throughout his career,'' James said to the Associated Press during his annual charity bike ride in his hometown of Akron, Ohio. ''Unbelievable talent. Multiple champion. Just to see how he was able to dominate in the low post, for me as an individual, I just try to look at some of the things I feel I need to get better at and hit home at it. Our team becomes better if I continue to get better and that's what it's about.''
Of course it seems kind of strange that James is thinking about next season when there is real doubt that there will be a 2011-12 campaign due to the great differences between the NBA owners' and players' wants and needs during the labor strife. James has been one of many big-name stars who have been absent from the talks about how a deal can get done.
But James expressed confidence that union chief Billy Hunter and commissioner David Stern can lead the charge to get a deal done to avoid the cancelation of next season.
'I'm optimistic that we will have a season this year,'' he said. ''Very optimistic.''
James is so optimistic he isn’t even looking for playing opportunities abroad like many of NBA stars like Kobe Bryant, Deron Williams, Dwight Howard and quite possibly his own teammate Dwyane Wade.
''We all love the game of basketball so much,'' James. ''And the love of the game is always going to be there."
The only playing James hopes to do abroad is to participate with the Olympic Team in the 2012 Games. James, of course, was instrumental in Team USA winning gold during the 2008 Beijing Games.
''I love representing my country and doing it the way I love to do it and that's playing the game of basketball,'' James said. ''So I would love to be a part of the 2012 team traveling to London and defending our gold medal.''
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(Photo: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)