LeBron James has rarely been outside the spotlight in his life.
So it must feel a bit strange for him to be at home throughout these playoffs, rather than playing in front of thousands of fans. In fact, James has only played six playoff games in front of fans since joining the Lakers in the summer of 2018: He didn’t feel the rush of the crowd during Los Angeles’ 2020 title run, thanks to COVID forcing the NBA into a bubble environment.
The Warriors are firmly in the limelight, squared 1-1 with the Celtics in the NBA Finals. That’s where James wants to be, and he admitted as much in the trailer for the new episode of The Shop, his barbershop-based roundtable show.
Asked which playoff team he’d want to join, James replied, “it’d be Golden State.”
At this point, James’ mention of the Warriors has to be a sign of desperation, a call for attention or a comedy bit.
James may not always speak in perfect soundbites, but he is calculatingly aware of his public perception. He knows that mentioning a desire to play with Steph Curry is going to get the basketball internet churning, as he did earlier in this season of The Shop. (Curry’s response? “I’m good.”)
“I would love getting into a pissing match with Draymond (Green),” James said in the clip. “I love when somebody cusses me out.”
If that sounds familiar, it’s because it happened for four straight NBA Finals between 2015 and 2018. But maybe that animosity has turned into admiration as James has aged and found himself in a different spot in his career.
The Warriors’ stars may be aging, but they aren’t near James, who still put up big stats at age 37 but couldn’t will his Lakers into the playoffs, leaving him to pontificate from home and from the barber’s chair.
The episode, which also features rapper Fat Joe and comedian Amy Schumer, premieres this Friday on the YouTube page for James’ production company Uninterrupted.
Contributed by local news sources