Fresh off winning Gold in the 2008 Summer Olympics with the “Redeem Team,” LeBron James is eagerly anticipating the 2008-2009 NBA season—a season he hopes he can clinch a championship title for his Cleveland Cavaliers after just barely missing his chance last season.
As one of the most physically dominating athletes of the world (he’s 6-foot-8, 250 lbs. and only 23 years old), “King James” is destined to be one of basketball’s greats and has a list of achievements to prove it. But at the end of the day, he’s also a father and a regular person who has an interest in fine rides, as seen through his impressive collection. Despite his busy schedule, LeBron details what it was like to play in Beijing, his upcoming documentary and his newly built mansion fit for a king.
Can you talk about your Olympic experience and what it was like playing in China? How was this time around different from your experience in the 2004 games?
I really enjoyed my time spent in China. It was an experience that I will never forget for the rest of my life. This time [around] was so different from my 2004 Olympic experience because of many reasons, such as the fact that we won a Gold medal and that, as a team, we all had the same goal, and we set out to accomplish that.
Now that you’ve won the Gold, many want to know if this team will stay together to defend it in 2012? Do you plan to participate again in 2012?
I plan to enjoy this moment for now, and I will visit the idea of playing in 2012 sometime during this season.
What did you do when you weren’t practicing or playing? Were there any events you went to see? Which other Olympic athletes impressed you the most?
I enjoyed my time in Beijing. When I wasn’t playing or practicing, I got out and did some touring of the historical landmarks of Beijing. I also attended some of the other Olympic events like tennis, beach volleyball, women’s basketball and swimming. I was really impressed by Michael Phelps…that guy is amazing!
You’ve won Rookie of the Year. You’re a perennial NBA All-Star. You’ve been first team All-NBA. What is the biggest accomplishment so far in your NBA career?
I would have to say winning a Gold medal is definitely my biggest accomplishment so far.
People still talk about Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals for the 2007-2008 season against the Pistons. You scored 29 of the team’s last 30 points and the last 25 points overall. You finished with 48 points. It was one of the greatest performances ever. Where do you rank that performance?
My game 5 performance definitely ranks up there pretty high if I had to chart my basketball performances.
The Cavaliers have been active in trying to put the pieces in place around you to win an NBA title. They made that huge trade last season to bring in guys like Ben Wallace among others. Now the team improved again by getting point guard Mo Williams this off-season. This team looks like a contender. What is your outlook on the upcoming NBA season?
I am very excited with the additions that we have made to our team. I feel that the additions that we have made will put us in position to make a run at a championship.
You’ve said that you consider Michael Jordan your role model and that’s why you wear No. 23. Are you and Jordan good friends? What is the best advice he’s given you?
I do consider Michael as one of the top role models in my life, and he has played an important role in how I approach the game of basketball by the example he set while he played the game. Due to both of us being very busy in our careers, Michael and I haven’t really had an opportunity to speak in sometime.
Speaking of friends, we talked about your relationship with Michael Jordan. You and rapper Jay-Z have a close relationship. How did that friendship start?
We have a mutual friend that introduced the two of us, and after spending sometime together, we recognized that we share a lot of the same beliefs and that is what made our friendship take off.
Jay-Z is part owner of the New Jersey Nets. Because of your friendship with him there is a lot of speculation that you eventually will play for the Nets once your contract with the Cavs is up in 2010. Is that something you’re considering or do you want to stay in Cleveland?
I am happy in Cleveland and excited about this upcoming season and our chances at a NBA Championship.
So, how many more seasons do you think you have in you? Is there a specific time frame when you will call it quits that you have planned out already, or do you plan to ride your career until you ultimately can’t play anymore?
I really plan to play as long as my health and desire allows me to play.