The Los Angeles Lakers begin their quest for the franchise’s first championship since 2010 on Tuesday night against the Portland Trail Blazers.
LeBron James — through the eight seeding games — is yet to look like his consistent dominant self, but is hopeful that the beginning of the postseason will be a turning point. On several occasions since the Lakers checked in to the Walt Disney World bubble, James has expressed his trouble adjusting to such a drastic change in his routine.
Even as James began to grow more comfortable with the setting, he already is anticipating the pursuit of a championship as the hardest for him. “Probably the toughest one. This is the toughest championship run for me personally,” he said. “From the circumstances of just being in here.”
And while James hasn’t changed his mental approach, he’s still unsure what to do about the physical aspect. “I don’t know yet. I lock in, I’ve been locked in once I knew Portland was going to be our opponent, and that’s really the only thing I’ve pretty much been thinking about,” he explained.
“I prepare the same way, just some other things change from previous seasons. As far as me being locked in, that doesn’t change.”
He’s also struggling to adjust to the immense differences between normal life and bubble life. “I don’t know what’s different for me in this environment. As far as me locking in on an opponent and individuals, that hasn’t changed. What’s different is this is the environment,” James clarified.
“I’m not home, I’m not with my family, I’m not in my own bed, I’m not in our practice facility, I’m not preparing to be at Staples with our fans. I’m not with a lot of things that’s essential to my everyday regimen. That’s what’s different. As far as mentally, that’s always going to be sharp.”
James has reached his status as one of the greatest players of all time in part due to his strict routine, something that is simply more difficult to get within the bubble.
Perhaps — should the Lakers advance past the first round — having his family join him in Orlando will allow him to feel just a little bit more comfortable. Either way, James knows he needs to figure out a daily routine quickly.
James admits NBA bubble is a huge challenge
This is not the first time that James has spoken about his struggles within the bubble. He already admitted that the adjustment has been troublesome for him.
“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 recently 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.”
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