“I’ve worked on my game really hard,” he said. “I’m confident in my ability out there on the floor, I don’t feel like there’s a shot that I can’t make, that I take.”
And tellingly, when asked when he actually believed that he could be the greatest player ever, James could only say that he always wanted to be the best, but couldn’t say when he actually began to believe it to be attainable.
“I don’t know, I don’t know,” he said when asked. “It was always a dream of mine, but as my talent continued to grow… I felt like I had the talent and I felt like I had the commitment to be the best.”
If I’m a betting man, I’d say it was sometime within the past two years.
As he prepares for what should be another deep playoff run and a potential fourth MVP Award, even after 10 years, James is a new man. He’s playing with less weight on his shoulders. As he sits down amongst the throngs of media spitting questions at him, his confidence shines through with some lighthearted responses.
Q: LeBron, have you passed your talent down to your son?
A: Have I passed it down to him already? Nah, I’m not done with it, yet.
But when asked what winning his fourth Most Valuable Player award would mean to him, James collected his thoughts and was serious. After repeating the question, he nodded. “It would mean a lot.”
“I put a lot of work into my individual game,” he said.
And it’s shown. No longer are we asking questions about whether James can hit the big shot or win a championship. He’s been there and done that. The pressure is off and now, he’s firmly focused on just playing the game of basketball.
For Miami Heat fans, that’s a wonderful thing. For the rest of the NBA, though, it’s scary.
James has yet to play his best basketball.
Rest assured, the reign is just beginning.
Moke Hamilton is a Senior NBA Columnist for SheridanHoops. Follow him on Twitter: @MokeHamilton