Since his rookie year with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2003-04, LeBron James hasn’t been on a team that found it as hard to win games as the Los Angeles Lakers this season.
The Cavaliers won 35 games during that campaign, which the Lakers are yet to reach in 2021-22 — currently holding a 29-40 record with 13 clashes left to play. L.A. has been struggling even though James has been in impressive form, averaging 29.5 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 6.2 assists.
As a proven winner, some might expect the four-time NBA champion to get tired of losing games at a rate he isn’t used to. But James reiterated he doesn’t intend on slowing down despite the hurdles the Purple and Gold have been facing.
“At the end of the day, you keep pushing forward,” he said. “I’m very comfortable being uncomfortable so it doesn’t bother me too much. Obviously, I’m a competitor, you want to win. Obviously you get frustrated with certain things that happen on the floor, but you control what you can control. If you can’t control it, you don’t worry about it, you continue to push forward.
“You see ways you can continue to get better, seeing ways you can be great for your ballclub, seeing ways you can continue to lead. It’s easy to be comfortable when you’re winning, I’ve never been that guy so it’s just all about how comfortable can you be when things become uncomfortable. So I’m OK with that too.”
James added playing in the NBA has always needed him to be patient, although the forward admitted to needing a bigger supply of patience this year because of the Lakers’ situation.
“I think every season for me is all about patience and it’s no different this year,” he said.
“I think it’s just testing my patience a little bit more than any season in the last few years just because of the way we’re playing, the losses coming in a bunch. It’s testing your patience and how you can continue to keep the focus out on the floor, figure out ways how you can be better for your teammates and not fall into the notion of a loser mentality.
“That’s what it’s pretty much all about because at the end of the day, I will never put myself in a position where I feel like I’m losing even when I lose a game, so it’s fine with me.”
Lakers’ struggles don’t change James’ approach to games
James said he approaches games the same way despite the Lakers’ underwhelming results, particularly as some of the issues L.A. has dealt with were out of anyone’s control.
“Listen, there’s a lot of great teams in this league and for me, I just try to put guys in position every single night to be successful to help our ballclub. Sometimes they go well, this year, a majority of the time they haven’t, but it doesn’t stop the way I approach the game,” James said.
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