We’ve seen plenty of headlines about LeBron James and the media so far during these NBA Finals, especially after James exited a press conference following Game 1 thanks to repeated questions from ESPN’s Mark Schwarz. It looks like James himself is well aware of that, as Tuesday’s media availability saw him deciding to go back to a question he’d already answered to make sure it wasn’t taken out of context (starting around 7:30):
LeBron: I mean, when you’re down like this, in a deficit like this versus a team like this, there’s no good feeling. So I don’t feel good about it.
Next question: With that moment between regulation and overtime, like Chris said, it has gone viral —
LeBron: Give me one second, sorry. [Addressing previous question again] I don’t feel good how I feel right now, not how I feel about the rest of the series. I know how clips can get broken up and somebody can clip that and be like, ‘Oh, LeBron said he doesn’t feel good.’ I personally don’t feel good today of the deficit that we have. Not about tomorrow. I feel great about our opportunity. Go ahead.
It’s somewhat fascinating to see that response, and to see an awareness of how these press conferences have turned into a much larger element of the NBA Finals than they’ve been historically (a subject Bryan Curtis explored recently at The Ringer). For much of the NBA’s history, what any individual player has said during the Finals hasn’t necessarily been a big deal. But that’s certainly changed in recent years, and it’s interesting to see the degree to which James acknowledges that here.
It’s quite understandable that he’s upset about the Cavaliers’ 2-0 deficit, but it’s also interesting that he’s still confident heading into the rest of the series. And in a world where press conferences weren’t as big of a deal, he probably wouldn’t need to explicitly say that. But in today’s world, it’s logical to try and keep your comments from being displayed sans context. And LeBron certainly did that here.