August 06, 2009
The King has spoken.
In an exclusive interview with the National Association of Black Journalists Sports Taskforce — who, fortunately for us, includes Yahoo! Sports NBA columnist Marc J. Spears — LeBron James(notes) spoke candidly for the first time about getting dunked on at his Nike skills camp over the summer, the handshake snub hullabaloo following the Cavaliers loss in the Eastern Conference finals, Shaquille and more.
LeBron on "Dunkgate":
"I never told anyone to confiscate any tapes. Nike has a no videotape policy at pick-up games. They've always done that. Now that LeBron is involved, it's blown up. It's a play that happens in basketball all the time. You can go on YouTube and see me being dunked on by a lot of guys. I like to call myself a shot blocker and [getting dunked on] tends to happen. Jordan Crawford is going to be a good basketball player ..."
LeBron on the last game vs. Orlando:
"I wouldn't have done it the same. I would have done the media. Looking back on it, without you guys, there's no LeBron James, D-Wade, Tiger Woods or no Peyton Manning. If I could have started over again, I would have done the media. As I thought about it I could see why people were talking about because your job starts when mine ends.
"But as far as the dunk or whatever car I'm driving, some things you shouldn't comment and some things you should. I look at the no handshake like this — during the regular season, no one ever shakes hands. You move on to the next game. I congratulated Dwight Howard(notes) through email and told him good luck in the Finals. Shaking hands is not a big deal to me. It's not being a sore loser, it’s moving on. Sometimes people want you to accept losing and I'll never accept losing."
"Wow, anytime you can get a guy like that. I was asked [by management if I] would you like him to be a part of this team and I said, 'Of course. I've never had a low-post presence since I've been in the league. I'd love it.'
"I can defer to a teammate. If Shaq is going, I'm OK. 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. This will benefit 'Z' [Zydrunas Ilgauskas(notes)] because he can go against second-tier guys. Shaq will be very big for us. I can be more of a threat. No matter if I catch it I can spot up and I'll still have a live dribble. I don't have to settle for taking a shot. Instead of dribbling the ball up where guys can pressure me. If I'm catching the ball out of double teams from Shaq, I can become a shooter. Now I can drive."
And finally, LeBron on whether he'll be back in Cleveland:
"I hope so. I signed a contract in 2006 with a three-year extension to leave my options open. Hopefully everything works out. I'm not ashamed of anything in Cleveland ... I'm looking forward to this season and we'll see what happens."