The Los Angeles Lakers have long been viewed as one of the favorites to win the NBA championship this season, mainly due to being led by the league’s top superstar duo in LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
But with the season being postponed due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the restart ultimately taking place inside a bubble setting at Walt Disney World, no one knew quite what to expect.
The situation is truly unlike anything anyone in the NBA has ever experienced before. Home-court advantage has been completely taken away and there is no travel. Players are unable to go home and be with their families and instead have to essentially stay in their hotels.
“Obviously, being away from your family is an unbelievable sacrifice we’re all making, and it’s very difficult. We have road games, when we go to the West Coast or East Coast, you have 11-day road trips of five or six games,” James said.
“And sometimes when you play in the Olympics, you can be away from your family because you’re traveling from country to country. But nothing has ever compared to this. It’s a huge sacrifice we’re all making. I miss the hell out of my family, my wife, my kids, my mother and so on. It’s a huge challenge to be able to stay locked in.”
It’s easy to see where LeBron is coming from in his thinking. Especially for someone like James whose family is so important to him, to be away from them for an extended period of time is difficult to adjust to. Being able to be around those closest to you after a rough night is a positive that is no longer available in the Orlando bubble.
But the aspect of playing basketball at least allows for a singular focus. “Once you get on the floor, the game is the game. It’s an opportunity to lock in on the situation at hand, the task at hand, and you keep the main thing the main thing,” James added.
“Because at the end of the day when you get on the floor, you have a job to do. Me personally, I have a job to do to continue to take this team in the right direction. So I’m able to lock in on that, and at the same time keep my family and loved ones in my heart and mind as well.”
Now that the Lakers have clinched the top seed in the Western Conference, James and the rest of the team can really turn their attention towards being at their peak for the playoffs.
LeBron focused on health, not playoffs
With everything taking place inside the Orlando bubble, there are certain advantages that are no longer available. The Lakers winning the championship will be solely on the players and coaching staff coming through when it matters most and as such, James understands the importance of the team staying healthy ahead of the playoffs.
“Health is wealth. That’s the No. 1 thing, and then chemistry comes with that on the floor,” he said. “Going into the postseason as healthy as we can be is what’s most important.”
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