LeBron James, in a way, feels he has a responsibility to serve as an example for the next generation of basketball talent.
On the latest “Road Trippin'” podcast with Cleveland Cavaliers teammates Channing Frye and Dwyane Wade, James acknowledged that while his place in NBA history as one of the greatest to ever grace the hardwood is secure, he continues to compete so that those following in his footsteps know how to best approach the game:
I could stop right now and be one of the greatest to ever play the game. I could stop right now. Like seriously. I could drop this podcast right now, fly home, be with my family, be one of the greatest to ever play. I owe it to the people to keep going. I owe it to the person that finally he’s able to understand the game of basketball. I owe it to that kid. I just do. Until I can’t do it no more, I owe it to that kid to keep teaching him this is the way the game should be played. It should be played with love, passion, commitment for your teammates, put the time in for yourself, and everything else, who cares.
Everybody gets so caught up in wins and losses, and obviously this is the business of winning. I get it. I’m all about winning. I cannot not win. It drives me crazy. But at the end of the day, the commitment to the game, the passion for the game, the love for the game, and the commitment to excellence, not only for yourself, but for your teammates, will create that culture.
James then brought up a slew of current NBA stars all 25 years of age or younger – Ben Simmons, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Devin Booker, and Joel Embiid – and how they would watch guys like him and Wade play the “right way.”
With three championships, three Finals MVPs, four season MVPs, 13 All-Star nods, and a slew of All-NBA Team spots on his resume, James has nothing more to prove at this point. Yet, here he is, putting up some of the strongest numbers of his career, and now admitting that he’ll continue to do so until he can’t possibly push himself any further.