Oakland (United States) (AFP) - Life gets crazy around LeBron James ahead of the NBA Finals, but the Cleveland Cavaliers superstar gave a shout out to Australian actress Rebel Wilson for helping him relax.
James will compete in his fifth NBA Finals in a row, and sixth overall, starting Thursday when the Golden State Warriors host Cleveland in game one of the best-of-seven championship series.
The 30-year-old playmaker seeks his third career crown but more importantly the first ever for his hometown Cavaliers. No Cleveland team has won a major sports title since the 1964 NFL Browns in the pre-Super Bowl era.
Having shunned South Beach for chilly Cleveland when he left Miami last year to return to the Cavaliers, James takes major pride in trying to end the longest title drought of any US city.
"It's part of my motivation," James said. "I understand the drought our city has been in as far as a major championship, so it's a huge motivation inside of me. And it's helped me get to this point, but I'm not done. I've still got a lot left in me. I'm going to command a lot out of myself."
But being the face of the NBA has its price, as Cavaliers coach Dave Blatt noted when describing just one situation James faced in Oakland.
"Lot of people want to touch him," Blatt said. "Lot of people want to talk to him and I just try to stay out of the line of fire. I feel for him. I really do."
Asked if anything people do surprised him, Blatt said with a smile, "Except for the forearm shiver I saw this lady give a man when LeBron came out of the hotel this morning in order to get a better picture, no, nothing surprises me. That was a little rough, though."
It's a rockstar status that brings back memories of Michael Jordan in his heyday or the 1992 Barcelona Olympics "Dream Team". But James said he finds his ways to live a common life.
"Well, I'm able to pick and choose. I do normal stuff, I guess," he said. "I sat out at an outdoor burger place and had a burger. Last night I went out and had a great dinner. I do normal stuff. I think I do.
"I went to the movies last week at a regular movie theater. I went to go see, I forgot the name of the movie.
"What is the movie with the girls and they're singing? 'Pitch Perfect 2,' which is unbelievable. Fat Amy is awesome. I love her. Wherever you are, you're awesome."
Just hours later, Wilson tweeted: "Thanks KingJames for the shout out today, your taste in movies is as amazing as your basketball!"
- Shumpert fears disaster -
Of course, not every movie brings the same thrills. Take for example "San Andreas," the disaster film about the impact of a major earthquake on the same Bay Area where the NBA Finals will open.
Cleveland's Iman Shumpert took to Twitter to spell out his fears about starting the series in Oakland, saying, "Warriors i kno yall got home court advantage but after watching San Andreas with wifey... can we play all 4 in CLE cuz I aint got (time) for (tidal waves)."
Shumpert later added: "when warriors see this movie even they gon wish Cavs would've won more games and played more in CLE."
The Warriors replied on the team's official Twitter feed, tweaking back at Shumpert, "nah, we're good" with an icon of a surfer riding on a wave.