Hard-working LeBron still hungers to add to legacy
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[May 06, 2017]
By Frank Pingue
TORONTO (Reuters) - The remarkable
workload that LeBron James has endured over the last seven seasons
has been unlike any other in NBA history and the greatest player on
the planet remains as hungry as ever to continue winning titles.
James, who entered the league out of high school in 2003, has long
since secured his status as a surefire Hall of Famer but the
Cleveland Cavaliers forward still shifts into a higher gear come
"It's the best part of the year. This is, they say, where legends
are made," James, a three-time NBA champion, said on Friday in
Toronto where his Cavs beat the Raptors 115-94 for a 3-0 lead in the
best-of-seven Eastern Conference semi-final.
"I am just trying to put myself in a position where I can be, I
guess, remembered when I am done playing."
James had a team-high 35 points, leaving him 176 points shy of
surpassing Michael Jordan as the all-time playoff scoring leader, as
Cleveland improved to 7-0 in the 2017 postseason.
With the victory, the 32-year-old James also moved five wins away
from reaching his seventh straight NBA Finals dating back to his
time with the Miami Heat from 2010-2014.
His current streak of NBA Finals appearances is already a total
unmatched since the Boston Celtics dynasty of the 1960s.
Those Celtics, however, did not have to log the same mileage as
James since the bulk of their reign came during a period when the
NBA had fewer than 10 teams, meaning fewer playoff rounds.
While a dominant James has made Cleveland's run in the playoffs look
easy, he credits past postseason failures for preparing him.
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Cavaliers forward LeBron
James (23) reacts in the third quarter against the Toronto Raptors
in game two of the second round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs at Quicken
Loans Arena. David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
James reached his first NBA Finals in 2007 as a 22-year-old with the
Cavs and after being swept by a veteran San Antonio Spurs team
declared that he had to be "10 times better."
He eventually left for Miami, saying he needed to learn how to win,
and along with a cast of All-Stars won two NBA titles in four
seasons before returning to Cleveland.
"At 22 I wasn't mentally ready for this. You dream about it, you
want it but you don't have the experience to actually know," said
James, whose Cavaliers can wrap up the series on Sunday in Toronto.
"Mentally I had never been a part of it so I didn't know exactly how
much commitment and how much sacrifice that you got to make not only
for yourself but for your team.
"But without that experience I wouldn't be where I am today."
(Editing by Larry Fine)
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