LeBron James spoke with TNT reporter David Alridge about his end of the game situation with the Orlando Magic and other items concerning the Cavs and the NBA.
Here is the report:
The below article is written by TNT and NBA TV Insider David Aldridge. Cavaliers forward LeBron James sat down for an interview with Aldridge at the NABJ Convention in Tampa.
TAMPA--If he could turn back time, LeBron James would have stopped on his way out of Amway Arena and spoken to reporters after his Cleveland Cavaliers were eliminated in the Eastern Conference finals. But if you still think he should have shook some Orlando Magic players' hands after Game 6, he must agree to disagree.
"I would definitely do the media," James said Thursday, in some of his first expanded comments on both the handshake controversy and the controversy over a confiscated tape of his being dunked on this summer at his skills camp.
"Looking back on it, without you guys, honestly...there's really no, there's no LeBron, there's no Dwyane Wade, there's no Tiger Woods, there's no Peyton Manning and the rest of these guys that do the things and (are) seen every day," he said. "Looking back on it, (not) doing the media was basically the big part of why it happened, why it got out there, and why it's still going on. If I had it to do over again, I would definitely do the media."
But as far as declining to shake hands with the winning team goes, James continued to defend his decision.
"I look at the handshake like this," he said. "During the regular season, no one ever says anything. We play 82 regular season games, eight preseason games, guys at the end of the game, no one ever shakes hands. Ever. And you move on to the next game. The congratulations, I congratulated Dwight (Howard) via e-mail, told him congratulations and good luck in the Finals. The shaking hands thing is really not a big thing for me. It's not I'm a sore loser or anything like that. I'm just moving on. You guys beat me...I think sometimes people want you to accept losing, and I will never accept losing. There's ways to handle it certain times, and shaking hands may be it. But I will never accept losing, at anything that I do."
James spoke with TNT's David Aldridge on Thursday at the National Association of Black Journalists' convention, as a guest of NABJ's Sports Task Force. He was in town for a screening of his documentary, "More Than a Game," which will be publicly released this fall after finishing as runner-up in the Toronto Film Festival last season to Slumdog Millionaire. The movie chronicles James's days at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School.
James was also promoting his new book, "Shooting Stars," co-written by James and Buzz Bissenger, the author of Friday Night Lights, which is to be released along with the film.
The 2009 NBA Most Valuable Player also shed light on the doings last month at his LeBron James Skills Academy in Akron, when a camper dunked over James during a pickup game. The dunk was taped by a freelance cameraman, who then had the tape confiscated by a Nike representative. Initial reports implied that it was James who ordered the Nike rep to take the tape, which was ultimately returned to the cameraman after online media outlets found other tapes of the dunk and aired them on the TMZ.com and eBaumNation.com websites.
James denied ordering the seizure.
"First of all, I never told anyone to confiscate any tapes," James said. "Nike has a no videotaping policy at pickup games. They've always done that. It just so happened that LeBron was involved, so now it's blown up. But it's a play in the game of basketball that happens all the time. You can go on YouTube right now and see me getting dunked on by a lot of guys. I mean, I like to call myself a shotblocker sometimes, and that tends to happen sometimes, when you just don't judge the ball right."
During the 20-minute conversation, James expressed his excitement at playing with Shaquille O'Neal next season, calling him "godfather" of the NBA players and recalling that O'Neal came to one of his high school games. And he said he would have no problem playing off the ball next season if it goes inside to O'Neal first.
"I've never had a low post presence since I've been in the league, he said. "I love it..I can defer to a teammate. If Shaq is going I'm okay, and if it's one of those nights when he isn't feeling it, I can take over... I know one thing that's going to happen: you can't check Shaq one on one. I can use some of my athleticism when a double team comes and slash to the rim. He's a very good passer so he'll just throw it at the rim and I'll go get it... If I catch the ball in the spot-up (position) I can either drive it or pass it. You're at my mercy."
James was non-committal on the issue of whether he'll re-sign with the Cavaliers after this season, though he said that he loved playing in Cleveland and had no reason to leave, given the team that general manager Danny Ferry has assembled around him and the rabid fan support the Cavaliers receive at Quicken Loans Arena. The Cavaliers have begun discussions with his agent, Leon Rose, about a contract extension, but James is almost certain to opt out of the last year of his deal following next season and at least test free agency.
James also expressed hope that the league and the players' union could reach agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement. The two sides began talks this week, with a lockout in 2011 looming.
"I've spoken to some of the guys who were there for the last lockout," he said. "Ben Wallace was a teammate of mine and he went through the last one. It was awful."