ORLANDO • Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James is not thinking about his sports legacy as he closes in on a fourth National Basketball Association (NBA) Finals win.
The forward is within touching distance of yet another championship as the Lakers head into Game 5 in Orlando with a 3-1 lead in their best-of-seven series against the Miami Heat.
But, while a fourth championship ring is certain to stir debate about James’ precise ranking in the pantheon of NBA greats, the 35-year-old has given it little thought.
“I don’t really think about it too much,” he told reporters. “The story will be told how it’s supposed to be told and be written how it’s supposed to be written. But I don’t live my life thinking about legacy.”
He added that he was more preoccupied with his legacy as a role model and social justice campaigner.
“What I do off the floor is what means more to me than what I do on the floor,” said James, who this week received a time-honoured accolade reserved for elite US athletes by appearing on the box of the Wheaties breakfast cereal.
Students from his “I Promise” school, which he started in his home town of Akron, Ohio, also appeared on the box.
“Seeing my kids on the back of a Wheaties box yesterday was one of the best moments of my life,” he said. “The game of basketball will pass me by. But… how I inspire the next generation is what matters to me the most.”
The Lakers, who returned to the Finals after missing the post-season for six straight years, can clinch their 17th title – and the first in 10 years – in Game 5.
Making things more difficult for Miami is that guard Goran Dragic, who has not played since the first half of Game 1, is doubtful and forward Bam Adebayo is limited because of a neck injury.
Separately, Chinese state television CCTV said yesterday that it will resume airing NBA games on its sports channel this morning, almost a year after it halted broadcasts of the competition following a diplomatic spat.
The broadcaster stopped showing NBA games last October after a Houston Rockets executive tweeted support for Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters last year.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS
MIAMI V LA LAKERS
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