Since he only comes to town once a year, I thought I'd get as up close and personal with LeBron James as possible.
Here's a rundown of what he did pregame and postgame.
LeBron runs through a rigorous quick pregame routine and, although most of his teammates were on the floor by the time he came out, he was in his own world. Multiple photographers were within a few feet of him at times and he never acknowledged their presence.
His routine consisted of catch-and shoot and pull-up jumpers from various spots on the floor, taken in quick succession so they would feel "in the flow" rather than just stand still. At one point, one of the Cavs assistants said "Good job, way to use your legs." Uh, gee, thanks for the advice, man. I'm sure he couldn't do it without you. After roughly 20 shots or so, he would go to the free throw line and go through his full free throw routine, as if he was in a game situation.
As if he was in a game situation, that is, until our sideline reporter walked by in a striking blue outfit and cream knee high boots, which caused Bron to look over once, stare, and then look over again for a second look. Secret weapon status! Apparently satisfied (satiated?) by his second gander, he then continued on with his routine. To be fair, he wasn't the only male in the arena taking notice.
Once finished, he jogged past me on his way to the locker room. My life flashed before my eyes.
Pregame Locker Room
I pulled myself together enough to check out the locker room scene, which was predictably a madhouse. LeBron briefly answered questions about playing for Nate in the Olympics (he couldn't point to anything specifically that Nate helped him with on defense but paid Nate plenty of general compliments) and about Greg ("I didn't watch him in high school as much as college. I sponsored his Ohio State team. Him, Mike Conley and Daequan Cook").
With the general group questions wrapped up, LeBron was then asked a final question about giving his shoes to Martell Webster and whether Martell's asking for his shoes (that Martell ended up giving to his little brother) was a sign that Martell was in awe of LeBron and not ready to truly compete against him. LeBron said he gets those requests all the time and that the idea that Martell was in awe was "stupid." At that point he pretty much walked away from the questioner, leaving his "stupid" statement hanging in the air. Brian Windhorst, the Cavs beat writer, lightened the mood by saying that LeBron's shoes tend to disappear from the locker room if he doesn't give them away. LeBron gave a chuckle to that and the pregame session was a wrap.
Last season, Kobe pulled the whole superstar thing and took like an hour before he appeared for questions postgame, fully dressed in a sweater that probably costs more than my car. So I expected something similar from LeBron. Not so! By the time Brandon had finished his Q and A, LeBron was already wrapping up his session, sitting shirtless at his corner locker stall, his feet in tubs of ice and his knees wrapped with ice packs.
Like Kobe, he said all the right things and, when asked about Greg, said that Greg was getting there and that "Przybilla helps him" and that "Przybilla and LaMarcus help take the pressure off of him."
Again unlike Kobe, after a few minutes, LeBron simply said "alright, that's it" and stopped taking questions pretty much without warning. He then began discussing the team's schedule plans with an assistant. A little bit anti-climactic.
- LeBron > Kobe on the court.
- Kobe > LeBron in the locker room.
-- Ben (firstname.lastname@example.org)
LeBron's right calf tattoo: "Witness." (sorry for the blurriness)
-- Ben (email@example.com)