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InsideHoops NBA [HOME] Jan. 4, 2004

LeBron James Interview




LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers recently visited New Jersey to battle the Nets. Before the game, and a few other media outlets interviewed LeBron about his rookie season, life in the league, play on the court and more. is the only place you'll find the complete interview from start to finish.

Question: What's it like trying to satisfy all the kids and fans who are trying so hard just to get your autograph?

LeBron James: That's kind of a tough question, I try to satify most of them. I can't get everybody. You can't satisfy everybody, I just try to get as many as I can.

Question: Is it shocking to you how big this has all become, everywhere you go?

LeBron James: Well, I had a God gift, that's to play basketball, and carry it on other people, and that's all it's about.

Question: Eric Williams will be a free agent, what would it mean to you to have him around long term?

LeBron James: It would mean a lot to me. Not just game-wise, not just on the court-wise, he's just a heck of a person to be around. It's his ninth year in the league, and he's only been here a couple of years, because, he's having fun, he's having a lot of fun, and I know he was having a lot of fun in Boston, but he kind of didn't let that affect him when he came to Cleveland, and to have him around in the locker room is great for me and great for the other teammates.

Question: You just turned 19 recently. Does it feel like you've aged exponentially this season?

LeBron James: I kind of not look at it that way. I'm just thankful for every day that I wake up.

Question: You've been doing well all season, but you've been tearing it up even more lately. Is it getting easier for you? Do you feel like you can do what you want?

LeBron James: I'm just getting more comfortable with my teammates, my coaching staff, and I pretty much know my role now. Coming in, I kind of didn't know my role, what was I going to be for this team, and now I am, and I'm kind of comfortable now and it feels great.

Question: What is your role?

LeBron James: I'm a leader. I'm the leader of this team, and they look for me at any point in the game, and that's not just scoring-wise, I do other things.

Question: Is that hard to believe at all, given your age?

LeBron James: Ahh (sigh). I've always been a leader. I've always kind of been the tallest person on the team when I was younger but always kind of the smartest. I was ahead of my time. I wasn't always the oldest, I kind of was the youngest on the team, but, I kind of knew what to do at times.

Question: Almost out of respect, were you trying to styfle that earlier in the season?

LeBron James: No, I was just playing my role. My role was to just to fit in with the team. That's all I was trying to do at the beginning.

Question: Was it a matter of proving yourself before trying to take over?

LeBron James: I don't think so. I don't need to prove myself to anyone. At practice they know what I can do, and it just had to try to look to a game situation.

Question: Do you feel like other players (on other teams) are coming at you even harder now that you're proving yourself the way you are?

LeBron James: Well, they was going to come at me no matter what, as much hype as I had coming into the league, number one pick, they was going to come at me no matter if I averaged zero points a game or twenty. And I'm going to come right back at them. I'm not afraid of nothing, I just like the challenge, and I love being here.

Question: When you show up at these arenas around the country, and they're selling out, and you just turned 19, what's that like for you?

LeBron James: It's fun. I thank God for the God-given talent He gave me. I worked hard to get to the point where I'm at, and I'm happy to see the fans come out and watch us play. They come to see me, but they also got to see my teammates when we run up and down the court, and that's what I'm really thankful for.

Question: Do you miss the privacy you don't have?

LeBron James: Oh, I get privacy. When I come out the house... Only when I come play basketball, that's when I have no privacy.

Question: And that's ok with you?

LeBron James: Yeah, that's ok.

Question: Do you still get to do the things a normal 19-year-old gets to do?

LeBron James: I never really understood that question. I really don't know what normal 19-year-olds do. They're in college, so I guess I'm having more fun than they are.

Question: Can you walk down the street right now, and not be recognized? A guy like Michael Jordan couldn't, are you at that point yet where you can walk and not be recognized?

LeBron James: I don't know. I think so. I don't choose to walk. I don't like to walk. I don't walk too many places. I can't even walk on the court, I'd get taken out the game.

Question: Do you have a new year's resolution for yourself in regard to your NBA development and this season?

LeBron James: It kind of wasn't a new year's resolution, it was just like an all-year thing, just to make sure I just kept getting better as a player and person, as well as my teammates.

Question: Has there been anything tougher than you thought it would be?

LeBron James: Win. To win. It's hard to win in the league, because every team is good, they got players on their team. A lot harder than high school. It's competitive, and that's what I most love about it.

Question: Is the demand for you growing? Do you sense the crowds are bigger and louder and wanting more from you?

LeBron James: No, they're not growing. They're pretty much the same, for me. It's fun. I kind of live up there by expectations, which I don't even really think about, I just kind of live up to my expectations, and it's kind of working right now.

Question: Do you hear what some fans are yelling at you during shoot-arounds, like that woman that was calling at you?

LeBron James: I didn't hear her. I be in a zone when I'm on the court.

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