A week ago, LeBron James went to London, in order to participate to his own event ‘the LeBron James skills academy’ at the London School of Basketball. As he did in September, the Chosen One took the time to answer some questions for the Guardian and its south african journalist Donald McRae.
We’ve highlighted here the best parts of the Q&A between them.
As the interview started, there was nothing new to discover. Talks about the London School of Basketball, the pleasure taken from this by LBJ and his crew, and the atmosphere in London, the shoe design or the ownership at Liverpool FC. But then, when brand talks and marketing questions were over, Donald McRae finally asked the good question, and we were stunned by the straightforwardness shown by the King :
The Guardian: The screening of ‘The Decision’ hurt you and your image – were you surprised by the bitterness of the reaction?
LeBron James: Um, yeah, but I can understand it. I was surprised by it because I was making a decision for myself. I was doing something that I believed was going to make me happy and freshen me up, personally. But looking back at it now I can understand why a lot of people were upset.
What would you change if you had to do it again?
Well, I can’t say I would change anything – because it would change so much that is now leading to the future. But, yeah, there is definitely a better way I could have handled it, as far as the whole TV thing is concerned, and the same goes for the whole build up to the announcement. So there are definitely ways I could say I should have changed that because a lot of people were hurt by it – and I definitely apologise to them.
And so on. But the big news is, LeBron feels no anger toward Dan Gilbert and Cleveland. You want a proof ? Here you go :
You’ve been quoted as saying it’s not impossible you could play for Cleveland again?
It’s not impossible [smiling]
It’s not impossible [laughs]. I still love the city. I have so many great memories of all those fans – so it’s not impossible.
OK, now LeBron tries to temper the Cavs fans’ anger or bitterness, saying ‘yeah, maybe i’ll be back’, which means ‘I’ll be back after I get my 6, 7 or 8 titles with Miami because if I come back without a ring, I’ll look like a jerk’. But that’s not it, stay with us :
But great players before you, from Magic Johnson to Larry Bird to Michael Jordan, all seem to have said that they would never have wanted to team up with their rivals. Do you think their argument has no substance – because the game has changed so much?
Um…well I believe that when Magic was drafted to the Lakers he had Kareem and, as the team was built, James Worthy was part of that team, as was Jamaal Wilkes, and Bob McAdoo….so he had four Hall of Famers right there on his team. And Jordan went through his bumps and bruises coming up with Chicago but they were eventually able to draft Scottie Pippen and then they got Horace Grant – two great players – and then they got Dennis Rodman – another Hall of Famer. So that team was built for Jordan. Same with Larry Bird. He had Kevin McHale, Robert Parish, Danny Ainge – all great players. And eventually Bill Walton went to the Celtics. So I know the history of the game. Individuals get a lot of the spotlight. But there’s never just been one individual who has done it by himself.
That is a statement, and it is the best answer James has made since The Decision. He’s taken so much from superstars, and he just answered : ‘Look to your teams, and stop criticizing my decision’. We like that, and we support him for it.
This interview has its big moments, right ? James took the time to congratulate the Dallas Mavericks, saying that « they deserve credit, and a lot of people did not give them enough credit » and spoke about the Olympics or the lockout, without any scoop though.