Relaxed LeBron James Has No Regrets About Missing Kobe Bryant In The Finals

OKLAHOMA CITY – Having been here twice before and leaving empty-handed, Heat star LeBron James knows better than to take any of this for granted.

That’s why he laughed when asked if he was disappointed that none of his trips to The Finals have included a dream matchup against Lakers star Kobe Bryant, the only other player of this era who stirs as much debate and commands as much attention as James does.

“LeBron and Kobe?” James said, shaking his head and then breaking into a smile. “I was disappointed that LeBron [versus] whoever it was didn’t happen. I didn’t give a damn if it was Kobe or not. Listen, I understand it’s LeBron and (Kevin) Durant — that’s you guys’ storylines. I’m in the Finals so it doesn’t matter. I don’t care who it’s against. It could be us against a college team or high school team.”

As many as have stated in the lead up to Game 1 of The Finals tonight, this is a different James than the youngster who showed up in 2007 with Cleveland and was swept by Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and the Spurs or the James who showed up with Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and the Heat last year and fell to Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks.

James seems more at ease with himself and with his surroundings this time around, carrying his reading selection (Jay-Z‘s Decoded) with him at shootaround.

Maybe it’s his past experiences or the realization that the third time, at least for him, comes with a clear understanding of not only what’s at stake but also what needs to be done to finally finish the job.

Or maybe it has more to do with a season-long easing of the pressure he faced last year, his first with the Heat and away from his family back in Northeast Ohio. James said having everyone under the same roof at home and being in a comfort zone this season has meant everything to him.

“Last year was the first time I was without my family, my immediate family,” he said, “so to have my fiance and my kids move down to Miami, my mom spend a lot more time down there this year, I was just more comfortable. The lockout, as bad as it was, it helped me out a lot because it helped me establish my family down in Miami from that time I had off from not playing. I was able to get comfortable, my family was able to get comfortable and my kids were able to get in school and enrolled. Once the season started in late December I was comfortable and ready to go.”

A third KIA Most Valuable Player award-winning season and a second straight trip to the The Finals later, it’s clear that whatever James had going on this season worked for him.

“I think everyone knows that when you have stability at home your work becomes that much easier,” James said. “And that comes from being a basketball player or being a reporter or whatever, it doesn’t matter. When you have stability at home, everything else just falls into place.”

30 Comments

  1. imba moves says:

    KOBE BRYANT IS THE best player of all time,.lets see in the next playoffs,,watch the lakers with kobe bryant in the finals!!!!!

  2. Jay says:

    I do want to see Kobe vs Lebron in the finals at least next year or the year after that. But I still think Kobe will win because Lebron is not as good as Kobe and will never be just saying

  3. vamos a la playa says:

    kobe is done, just look at his stats.
    3 out 5 lakers starters are in a decline mode and so … who cares about the lakers and lekersboy fan comment?

  4. mike thomas says:

    Kobe s the greatest active player.

  5. carlos92 says:

    Kobe will be in the finals against LBJ watch for you under-estimators never under- estimate Kobe member with a broken finger he won the 2010 finals and was also on scoring rampage on the Celtics what other players with an injury could do that MJ and Kobe and lebron is so overrated teams win championships not band wagoners like lebron how many superstars does Miami even need to win a championship not 1,2,3,4,but 5 superstars to win a title but i think Lebron shouldn’t even be compared with Kobe or MJ til he brakes more records and wins a title by himself but i certainly know he will get his ring this year but his only one Kobe 24 vs Lechoke 2013 finals with Andre Iquodala on the roster and Al Jefferson

  6. For me definitely Kevin Durant is an overall better player than Lebron. OKC in 6. Miami maybe next year. KD = a megastar is born

  7. For definitely Kevin Durant is a better overall player (impact player) than Lebron. And OKC is much more a team than Miami which is bunch of individualities. OKC in 6.
    Yes I missed Kobe not year don’t think so. Kobe’s years are over

  8. Patou says:

    KD is a better player than LBJ because he have more skils and more talented for his age, No matter what the outcome – MVP went to the wrong player..

  9. Agudo says:

    LBJ is the man. He can certainly carry a team to the finals but carrying a team to a championship is another story. I want the Heat to win but because OKC are a better team I’d say they have the advantage for sure.

  10. Lawlawz says:

    Kobe is a good player but not that great….he got rings but still i dont think hes that great.
    Lbj is a great player but until he cant win a championship he will be remembered as Lechoke.

    Wanna talk about greatness….watch durant on his way to greatness.And hes greatness start on game1

    • Hi says:

      Lawlawz: You are obviously new to basketball and have not seen Kobe in his earlier days. NO ONE who has experienced the true magnificence of his dominance will EVER deny his greatness. There are very few players in the league TODAY who can compare to Kobe, two of which are Duncan and Garnett. We will see whether or not Durant can live up to these legends. As for LeBron… well, winning is obviously a big part of basketball that he cannot do. Until he does, that leaves him out of the question, and his time is running out.

    • RayRay20 says:

      Kobe dominated the game during his prime in a way that LeBron hasn’t done so yet. He easily put up 40, 50 point nights and shredded oppositions in clutch time. If you’re saying Kobe isn’t a great player, you obviously weren’t watching the NBA before 2010 or 2009. There’s a reason lots of NBA experts put Kobe up as one of the greatest of all time, saying he’s the “only rival Michael Jordan ever had”. It’s because when he was in his prime, that’s how he played and dominated. Like MJ. Don’t bring your post 2010 ideas in – he may not be the megastar he was a few years ago, but saying he’s not great is a severe understatement.

      • Mark says:

        THEY ONLY BOOST KOBE BECAUSE HE HAS RINGS. HE ONLY HAS RINGS BECAUSE HE HAD WAY MORE HELP THAN LBJ. I KNOW LBJ HAS HELP NOW BUT BEFORE LAST YR HE DIDNT HAVE HELP. LEBRON IS NO JORDAN BUT HE BETTER THAN KOBE. KOBE IS GREAT TOO BUT HE’S OVERRATED. HE’S NO COMPARISON TO JORDAN EITHER.

  11. CoachD says:

    LeBron is the biggest bandwagoner on the Heat team. And to compare LBJ with Kobe? That’s INSANE!

  12. MightyNZAllBlacks says:

    I dont know why they still call it the finals when Kobe’s not even playing

    • NBAfan says:

      hahaha! I have to be honest with you….I’m just watching to find out who Kobe will try to beat next season…but of course I’m a Kobe fan….

      I like MWP but I think they need a more athletic SF like Ariza was before…or maybe even better…Paul George….Sessions is good, as a back up, but they need a REAL FLOOR GENERAL.. There’s no more triangle that allows everyone to be the point guard. The need a real play maker at the point so Kobe doesn’t have to try and do it from the 2 spot….they should really have gotten CP3

      Bynum or Pau…one of them has got to go….

      Lamar needs to come back…even if he wasn’t half the player he was..he’d still be valuable off the bench because of his height, length, and skill sets

  13. cord says:

    Durant will show He Got D and will average 38 OKC in 6 not 7 also It will be Lebron V.S Kobe nxt year if DW comes to LA

  14. Trix says:

    “When you have stability at home, everything else just falls into place” true for ANY profession. I like it!

  15. Spiller says:

    I like Bron, he’s the best overall player in the NBA know. Still I’m an OKC fan and hate Wade, so GO OKC!

    • mp says:

      That’s heuh…strange..kinda but anyway heat in 7

    • NBAfan says:

      I have to be honest with you. With how he is no longer calling himself King, and how he seems more focused and determined this year, and how he is just letting his game do all the talking and he has stopped trying to be some kind of PR salesman…..I’m starting to forget all the BS that came from The Decision, and the parade, and all the other stuff in the past that annoyed me about Lebron.

      He’s not perfect and he’s not as great as all his devoted fans want all of us to believe he is, but HE IS STILL THE BEST IN THE LEAGUE AT THIS POINT…is he one of the greatest? For sure! is he top 10 or top 5 or top 3? Lets talk in 7 years…

      Maybe it’s going to be the Durant vs Lebron Era…Like Bird and Magic…this is actually perfect…..

  16. Celtic Fan says:

    So what if Kobe isn’t in the finals? This will be a great series! Can’t wait!

    • NBAfan says:

      I do want to see Lebron vs Kobe in the finals at least once in the next couple of years. Any meeting past that….it won’t mean a thing….

      if it’s in the next two years…it’ll be Lebron at 100% vs Kobe at 85%
      if it’s past that….it’ll be Lebron at 100% vs Kobe at 75%

    • CoachD says:

      @NBAFan.

      Are you serious? Kobe’s 85% is as good as LeBron’s 100%.
      LeBron will never be compared to Kobe’s greatness. After the Heat gets kicked in the butt by the Thunder, LeBron will be retiring in shame for boastfully saying not 1, not 2, not 3, not 4, . .

      #UMAD?

      • Crusty says:

        I think maybe he means Kobe’s at 85% of his best. Age does slow everyone.

      • HeatFan says:

        oh really? what if i kick your butt and your face if the heat wins this finals? im BOTH OKC AND HEAT FAN but dont hate
        lbj and show some respect