MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami Heat superstar LeBron James knows there’s great interest in what he will do next July, but first, he has another matter to take care of, a possible Heat 3-peat.
But what should really scare Heat opponents is his assessment of his basketball skills since Game 7 of the 2013 NBA Finals.READ MORE: Erika Verdecia's Confessed Murderer Eric Pierson Had Other Victims
“I got better,” James said Monday. “I’m a better basketball player than I was last year, in every aspect.”
Yes, the four-time Most Valuable Player in the National Basketball Association believes he’s gotten better. That rattling noise you hear is from opposing coaches trying to come up with game plans to stop the Heat.
The Heat gathered as a team for the first time on Monday and the group of veterans appears to be healthy and ready to go. James will be looking for a fifth MVP award while leading the Heat to the rarefied club of teams who have reached the Finals in four consecutive years and won three straight NBA championships.
“It’d be different if we had a young ballclub that pretty much didn’t know how to handle the media and got suckered into questions,” James said. “We have a veteran ballclub that’s heard everything, that’s seen everything and it won’t be a problem. Guys understand where I stand and that’s all that matters.”
So, as for where he stands …
“I don’t think anybody is looking to go elsewhere. … We all know inside our locker room that LeBron’s committed to this team,” Wade said.
James remains convinced that he made the right decision when he chose Miami in 2010 after seven years in Cleveland, and has given no indication that he is plotting his escape from South Florida. He said there’s no need to talk about what’ll happen next summer, though Spoelstra plans to at least give it a cursory mention.
The Heat message, as conveyed by both players and coach on Monday, was simple: Winning it all again this season is the only real plan.READ MORE: 'Public Service Is In My DNA': Ousted Miami Police Chief Art Acevedo On His Firing & COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates
“What we have is a tremendous opportunity and we have a very highly motivated group of guys in that locker room and they understand what we’re playing for,” Spoelstra said. “That excites me.”
Wade was even more succinct.
“I think we understand the team that we have and understand this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for us,” Wade said.
Perhaps overshadowed by James’ Game 7 performance against San Antonio in last season’s finals — he had 37 points and 12 rebounds, plus hit the jumper with 27.9 seconds left that essentially clinched the title for Miami — was the miracle finish in Game 6. Allen’s 3-pointer late in regulation capped a frantic rally in a game the Heat ultimately won in overtime.
James watched Game 6 countless times this summer. Game 7, maybe just three or four times. The reason was simple, he said: He finds Game 6 to be more inspiring.
“I want to be the greatest of all time,” James said. “That’s my motivation. It’s that simple. It’s not simple. But for me it is. That’s my mind frame. It’s not to be the greatest of all time in anyone else’s book or how they judge the greats. It’s for me. I feel like I have the potential to continue to get better and to maximize my time while I play this game of basketball. I want to be the greatest.”
He was asked how close he is to that loftiest of goals.
“I’m far. I’m far away from it,” James said. “But I see the light.”MORE NEWS: Accused Hollywood Cop Killer Jason Banegas Transferred To Broward Jail
(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)