“You are trying to simulate a guy,” Carlisle said, “that many would argue is unsimulatable.”
James was among the players and coaches that posed with this year’s trophy at ABC’s request, part of the promotional photos and videos that will be used on finals broadcasts, joking that he held it and was asked to do everything with it “besides take it home.”
No extra motivation is required now, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.
“Both teams know what we’re playing for,” Spoelstra said. “Right now, I think it’s more important to stay in the moment, stay in the process.”-
“We’re not here to sell jerseys,” he said.
- “We’re not here to pump up ratings,” he said.
Except they did that, too, with the Eastern Conference finals being the most-watched series ever shown on cable.
- “Our goal is to win championships,” he said.
Here comes that chance, and for as desperate as they all are, no one likely fits that bill more than James.
He’s spoken often in recent days of how getting swept by the Spurs was humbling, a driving force for him to get better over the past four years.
“I go back and look at some of those games, I look at myself and say, ‘You are a much better player than you were then,”’ James said. “That comes from playing games, playing postseason games, losing, winning.
“There’s a lot of guys that have been in the finals, and lost and never got back. … I’m humbled. I’m blessed that I’m able to get back to this point and be able to redeem myself for that time when I was in the finals against the Spurs.”
So it’s not just redemption he seeks for what’s happened over the past year.
It’s for what happened in 2007, too, and much more than that as well. He’s long been considered one of the game’s greats, but without a title, he knows that label would ring hollow.