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LeBron says his legacy will be more than just basketball

Jun 5, 2014, 8:32 PM EDT

LeBron James LeBron James

SAN ANTONIO — In our world of instant analysis (guilty, as charged), the idea that a player’s career having time to unfold naturally, to wait to try to define a legacy before a player has left the game and there is perspective has been largely washed away.

As has the perspective that a player can be three dimensional and have a life and legacy besides what happens in the arena.

Just more than an hour before tip-off of Game 1 of the 2014 NBA Finals — a series that will have a big say ultimately in his on-the-court legacy LeBron James returned to calling the legacy talk stupid, saying it misses the big picture.

“Our guys are still trying to define what they are trying to accomplish in the course of their careers,” James said in the Heat locker room. “To talk about it right now is stupid. Let guys play out their years…

“And for me a legacy isn’t just basketball. I think people get caught up in what you do on the floor, what you do on the gridiron, what you do on the diamond and so on and so on, and just try to define your legacy just by how you play the sport. I think my calling is much bigger than just basketball, to say what my legacy is on the floor and to say that’s all it is stupid.”

Stupid or not, legacy talk will be all over these NBA Finals.

As will comparisons to last season.

Is this the same Miami Heat team as last season, the one that beat the Spurs in a thrilling seven-game series? Depends on who you ask.

“We talked about it from the first day of training camp that it wouldn’t benefit us to try to compare too much to the previous year,” Heat coach Eric Spoelstra said. “Let’s get on to the new journey, the new challenge and this one already feels a little bit different than last year.”

“We’re pretty much the same,” LeBron said. “We’ve grown together as far as being together for another year, but as far as our mental toughness we’re just like we were last year. We don’t get too high, we don’t get too low over the course of a series, we just play even keel.”

They better have grown, because this Heat team is about to run into a Spurs team that has grown, that is better than a year ago.

  1. titansbro - Jun 5, 2014 at 8:42 PM

    So smart guy, if your legacy is “much bigger” than basketball then tell us what it is. Who’s he kidding? He’s too stupid to do anything else, not unlike 90% of other pro athletes.

    • nfl4days - Jun 5, 2014 at 9:27 PM

      Sounds like a jealous loser.

      • chicagosports2014 - Jun 5, 2014 at 9:31 PM

        Lebron the guy who left his home town hanging 👍

      • urodaddy07 - Jun 5, 2014 at 10:20 PM

        Yeah but he has a point. So its stupid to talk about legacy, yet you can state that your legacy is more than basketball. I mean I don’t even understand that statement. When he has retired, his legacy will be purely a basketball legacy, because that will be all he would have done to that point. Now, after he has retired, he can choose to do something else and build some other kind of legacy. But when he retires, I don’t know what else we would have had to judge him by, unless he plans to run for office while he is still playing.

    • cantonbound13 - Jun 5, 2014 at 9:30 PM

      So he’s going to cure cancer? If he couldn’t dribble & dunk a basketball, he’d be flipping burgers some where.

      • chicagosports2014 - Jun 5, 2014 at 9:50 PM

        I will never forget that Lebum quote canton👀

  2. thomaskouns - Jun 5, 2014 at 8:43 PM

    That sounds like someone who’s ‘prepping’ in the media if he loses the finals.

    As great as Lebron is, if 37 year old Duncan & small market San Antinio win – good luck…

    • sportsfan18 - Jun 5, 2014 at 9:13 PM

      Miami is only a medium market…

      Miami is the 18th largest NBA TV market…

      The Minnesota Timber Wolves have a larger TV market than Miami…

      San Antonio is either the 7th or 8th largest city by population in the entire United States…

      But, San Anton IS a small NBA TV market…

  3. dolphindubs - Jun 5, 2014 at 8:54 PM

    A Battle Royale between two All-Time Great teams!

    It fiddin’ a go down…

  4. biasedhomer - Jun 5, 2014 at 8:56 PM

    When I think of Lebron, all that comes to mind are basketball related things.

    Unless he plans to have an acting career, be an advocate for some group, join the armed services, become a politician, or something similar, his legacy will be about basketball.

    • bkbell3 - Jun 6, 2014 at 8:33 PM

      Are you people not smart enough to understand that he means with his name and money he hopes to add to his basketball legacy by what he wants to do after he is done playing. Like maybe Magic Johnson with his charity work and business ventures etc. I’m not the biggest lebron fan but he trains and plays hard, his teammates love him and he does much charity work in front of and behind the scenes. The decision was stupid and awkward esp. because of Jim Gray who is a putz but it also made money for the Boys Club. The stupidest think to bang him about was the PEP RALLY for the fans in Miami when they were ask how many chips they wanted to win he said 1-2 and then he and wade started laughing and said 3-4-5-6 etc. What should they say, Oh well one or 2 would be good then we would be ok with losing every year after that? Again it was a PEP RALLY. They didn’t guarantee anything and of course any player wants to win it every year. Again i’m not a huge fan but the guy comes to play and makes his teammates better,takes care of his family and friends and stays out of trouble andworks on his game and adds to in every year and plays hard on both ends of the court, does charity work etc. and is the best player in the world, and gets killed by people who contribute what to the world?smh

  5. engh533 - Jun 5, 2014 at 8:58 PM

    To all you haters Lebron James is a Good Human being and for the criticism this man takes the only thing you can criticize him for is basketball.And here is the kicker …most of you critics /haters aren’t good enough to criticize. He takes care of his family,gives back to the community and doesn’t have any legal issues so this man can and will make a big impact beyond Basketball

  6. uhemi - Jun 5, 2014 at 9:03 PM

    Go Heat, love to see all haters

    • cantonbound13 - Jun 5, 2014 at 9:31 PM

      Spurs in 5

  7. jucam1 - Jun 5, 2014 at 9:46 PM

    I don’t have a rooting interest, just looking for a great series… However you people realize that Lebron, Tim Duncan, Bosh, The Bird Man, and EVERY person involved with these two teams has already become way more successful and meaningful to the Human race than any of you commenting with your hate right?… Do you realize how insignificant you are and pathetic you sound?.. Just by paying more in taxes in one year than your sad little self (Canton) will pay in your whole life, Lebron will make more of a difference and have more of an impact on society than you ever will. It’s so sad to come on here and read these bitter sad little comments from people that will never have the impact Lebron has. There should be a course on dignity and a license to comment on people you wish you could be. I hope this is a fantastic series and can’t wait to see these two amazing teams go at it again.

    • nykfanwakemeupin2015 - Jun 5, 2014 at 10:47 PM

      I think you would be pretty surprised how much Millionaires pay in taxes vs the average american.

  8. drewsylvania - Jun 5, 2014 at 9:49 PM

    He’s right. It’ll also be about how he thumbed his nose to the team that drafted him on national TV.

  9. hojo20 - Jun 5, 2014 at 9:57 PM

    Just STFU and play, LeBum.

  10. chiadam - Jun 5, 2014 at 9:58 PM

    Basketball and stupid hats.

  11. dolphindubs - Jun 5, 2014 at 10:23 PM

    Sounds to me like LeBron has a great perspective. If basketball ceased to exist, the world would continue to go on without missing a beat. That let’s you know just how important basketball (or any sport, or any form of media entertainment) actually is.

    Being a good person, being a good parent, being a good role model. That is where TRUE legacies are made.

    Hats off to you, Lebron. And to every other athlete or entertainer humble enough to realize that.

    Let’s go Heat!

  12. golfrangeman - Jun 5, 2014 at 10:24 PM

    Well cantonbound if he’d be flipping burgers ,watch out he might take your job.

  13. denverhoopdreams - Jun 5, 2014 at 10:27 PM

    Anyone else notice that both Russell and James have their hands in the same pose the last two articles? LOL.

  14. marbulz - Jun 5, 2014 at 10:33 PM

    He referring to the influence he had,has, and will have on family, friends,teammates,pears, and most importantly all the youngsters that look up to him other then just thier parent or guardian in thier life.

  15. jadaruler - Jun 5, 2014 at 10:54 PM

    This guy continues to be money with his comments. Legacy talk, sport wise, is dumb while in the middle of a career. I felt the Kobe-MJ comparisons hurt Kobe’s career. I think it would hurt Lebron too, so I he’s trying to squash it.

  16. Great Caesar's Ghost - Jun 5, 2014 at 11:03 PM

    Yup, it’ll be about The Decision and letting his teammate hook up with his mom.

    • 00maltliquor - Jun 6, 2014 at 12:05 AM

      I don’t know you, who you you are or what you’ve done for society, but I’m pretty sure LeBron’s “Decision” raising 2 million for some children’s charity will singlehandedly impact more lives then anything you or I will do combined for our lifetimes.

      • bkbell3 - Jun 6, 2014 at 8:42 PM

        Amen, and his mom is a grown women and responsible for her own actions. Lebron has also said he has some regrets with the way he handled the decision.Much hate for a guy who plays and trains hard and gives a good show and competes and also lends his time,money and name to many causes.smh. P.S I’m a knick and mj and koby fan.

  17. eugenesaxe1 - Jun 6, 2014 at 2:45 AM

    Cracker please. If you had a “calling” I doubt you’d be playing ball right now.

  18. davidly - Jun 6, 2014 at 7:46 AM

    Give him a break. He’s a smart enough guy, let alone for a jock out of high school. He’s only gonna sound as thoughtful as the questions he’s hit with in this age of all NBA access. It’s spread too thin, as is evidenced by the average comment on this forum. But at least commenters here have the opportunity to think and formulate their thoughts and are not forced to conduct idiotic interviews every friggin day.

  19. tdl8 - Jun 6, 2014 at 12:12 PM

    Yep, FLOPPING, CRYING and wimping out in the Finals multiple times don’t count towards his “basketball legacy!”

  20. dolphindubs - Jun 7, 2014 at 12:47 PM


    Damn. Straight.

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