Q&A with LeBron James
By: Mauricio Mendoza
Posted Aug 26 2007 6:52PM
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"We won’t let any team breathe", James.
LAS VEGAS, August 26, 2007 - LeBron James traded his wine-and-gold 23 for a red, white and blue 6 this summer. He also left behind his leading scorer role in exchange for hard work and humility to play along his USA teammates.
Here, he’s the player who prefers to pass the ball. Every pass he makes has been a lethal attack to the opposing team’s defense. It’s a new side of LeBron and a great new phase to watch on the USA Basketball team.
Following the U.S. team's third victory against Canada, NBA.com spoke with one of the team's captains about his role and expectations in this tournament.
What do you think about this tournament’s format? Do you think it’s necessary to have such a long second week?
I’m not worried about that, we are spending this time with the entire team. We know we have to play a lot of games and have to keep the same energy in every game.
What do you think about this team’s depth?
It’s something that definitely makes a difference, not just because our bench is deep but because every player can contribute to the team. Shooting, rebounding, passing, penetrating and making solid defensive plays.
What do you think about Brazil, your next opponent?
We’re ready for that game. They’ve also played a good tournament, so that game will determine who will be first in our group. They have players that can shake our team like Leandro (Barbosa) and Nene
, but we’re ready to face them.
How easy or difficult are these games for you guys, particularly since you’ve won all three by more than 50 points average?
We’re just playing collectively as a team, and we’ve done a great defensive job, defining plays. We’ve also been effective in the perimeter. We’re having fun on the court.
Can you talk about the intensity with which you guys have played on the court the first few minutes?
We don’t want to give any advantages. We don’t want to give any team the opportunity to impose their game on us and complicate things. We won’t let any team breathe.
Any idea how long you held off Canada from making a basket in the second half?
Wow, then we played well.
How did you feel about having Dwyane Wade on the bench with the team today?
He’s a great friend, and he’s part of this team with all of us. Unfortunately he can’t be on the court with us because of his injury, but his being here is a sign of his support and I know that for him, it’s real important for our team to be motivated.
You had a solid game in points, rebounds and assists.
They know me, that’s my game. I always try to include all my teammates in every play. The chemistry that we have is also helpful, we’re a lot more confident now. In this team, it’s about all of us participating and making it as high as we can go. Scoring points is not important, what’s important is playing well and winning. If I have to pass the ball more than I have to shoot, then that’s what I’m going to do over and over.
Are you surprised about your teammates’ level of play?
No, the truth is I’m used to this level in every one of them. I know them because I’ve had to play against them for four seasons in the NBA. I know what each team member is capable of doing. It’s the best team I’ve played with and I’m very proud of being a part of our success.