Over the past two years of covering the NBA in Toronto, few players have gotten the kind of media attention LeBron James has. This evening was the perfect example of this as over 20 members of the media huddled close to his locker before Cleveland’s game against Toronto for a chance to hear James talk about his experiences in the Olympics, the possibility of changing his jersey number next season and Ben Wallace’s new haircut.
One of the benefits of being an online media outlet is Hoops Addict isn’t limited to word limits or space constraints. So, instead of hammering out 800 words on a specific topic from each game, we’re going to start providing readers with the unique insight that comes along with being a beat writer that covers a team. Some of this material will be filtered in order to keep things professional, but our goal is to provide readers with the information they crave about their favorite players. This information is going to be presented a new series called “In The Scrum With…” where we transcribe key questions from a media scrum with an important player or coach in the NBA.
Sit back, kick up your feet and enjoy the debut of this column with some insight into LeBron James.
Reporter: What part of your Olympic experience helped you develop as a person and a player?
LeBron James: It allowed me to get better as a player going against some of the best players in the world everyday in practice and then playing alongside of them during games. As a person? I don’t know. You just grow every year as a man and as a person no matter what kinds of experiences you have.
Reporter: Can you talk about the impact Mo (Williams) has had on the team this year?
James: He’s been unbelievable and he made the All-Star team. We expected a lot out of him but he’s been more than we expect. He’s been great.
Reporter: Who are some of the toughest defensive players that you’ve faced?
James: Tayshaun Price, Ron Artest, Shawn Marion are all really good defenders. Bruce Bowen is really good. Shane Battier is really good also. So is James Posey.
Reporter: At shootaround today you were wearing a #6 jersey and there’s been some talk that you might be switching to that at the end of the year. Can you talk a little bit about that?
James: It’s the number of my Olympic jersey and it means a lot to me family wise. But that’s not my concern right now…
Reporter: The trade deadline is tomorrow. If the Cavs stay as they are right now, can you win a Championship?
James: Yeah, as long as we stay healthy. We just need to get everybody healthy because we haven’t been healthy in a long time. It’s probably been two or three months where we haven’t been healthy with our full group of guys. Even after the All-Star break we’re missing a couple of key guys. I think once we get healthy we should challenge for an NBA Championship. Absolutely.
Reporter: We haven’t seen you since the Inauguration where we saw a piece on television where you watched the ceremony with your kids. What was that day like for you?
James: It was great. It was nice to watch history and almost feel like you had a hand in it.
Reporter: What do you think about Ben Wallace’s new haircut?
James: It’s funny. I probably feel the same was as I felt about Allen Iverson’s haircut this weekend: you just don’t expect to see the old school guys without their braids. It’s definitely different.
Reporter: Do you even remember Wallace before he had them?
James: Yeah, actually I do. I honestly do. I remember him in his Washington days when he was down there with C-Webb and Juwan (Howard) duringm his days on the Bullets and he used to sit on the bench. That’s when he wasn’t playing. He didn’t need his ‘fro back then.
Reporter: Can you talk about your experiences for you this past weekend at All-Star weekend? What were some of the highlights for you?
James: My favourite moment of All-Star weekend was Shaq dancing with those Jabbawockeez. That was unbelievable and I wish I had been asked to dance with them as well. To do that would have been pretty fun. It was just another great experience. All-Star weekend is always fun.
Photo Credit: ICON Sports Media