LeBron James Credits Spurs, First NBA Finals Trip for Early Lessons

Postseason success is the goal of all NBA players, but only a select few end up winning a championship. Some are good enough to win multiple titles. The Lakers’ LeBron James is amongst that group and currently vying for a fourth title. That would tie him with San Antonio Spurs greats Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker, who appeared in the first NBA Finals that LeBron played in. Prior to the 2020 Finals, James spoke about how that early experience in his career helped him get to where he is now.

LeBron James Praises 2007 Finals Experience Against Spurs

Back in 2007, LeBron James was four years deep into his NBA career but hadn’t reached the NBA Finals. That changed that year, as he helped will a Cleveland Cavaliers team lacking many stars to the championship round. Their opponents were none other than Gregg Popovich’s elite Spurs, featuring Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker, and Tim Duncan.

Unfortunately, LeBron didn’t have enough on his own to defeat a team of the Spurs’ caliber. San Antonio won the NBA Championship in a 4-0 sweep of the Cavs. Even so, that early defeat taught LeBron quite a bit thanks to how the Spurs worked.

“Well, I mean, obviously they were the better team,” LeBron said ahead of the Lakers’ practice last Thursday. “Dealing with Timmy and Manu and Tony and Pop, four Hall of Famers, I knew it would be challenging, not only for myself but for our franchise and for our ball club. I saw the way they approached every game, how they approached every possession. They didn’t make mistakes. They weren’t just happy with being there; they wanted to be great, as a unit and as individuals as well.”

The early loss to the San Antonio Spurs bothered LeBron James enough that he used it as motivation going forward.

“I sensed that as a 22-year-old, and I saw that as a 22-year-old. That helped shape me year after year after year after year, just holding on to that feeling of not being able to reach the ultimate goal. But at the same time, like I said, just having that adversity and having those moments has put me in a position where I’ve been throughout my career,” he indicated, per NBA.com.

LeBron Says he’s at a Point With no “Weakness”

After beginning the latest NBA Finals up 2-0 on Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat, LeBron James’ Lakers suffered their first loss of the series on Sunday night. The Heat are coached by Erik Spoelstra who LeBron won two titles with. Miami’s sideline general knows James well from coaching him multiple seasons.

However, it appears James knows himself best. He’s been able to gather up lessons from all of the great players and coaches he faced. That has helped him have no “weakness” in his game. As LeBron said, “there’s nothing out on the floor that I cannot do at this point in my career.”

“That’s all because of the competition, the adversity, the losses and everything I’ve been through throughout the course of my career. At that point in time I say I’ve got to work on this because that’s what they’re allowing me to have; now I’ve got to work on this because they’re shutting this down in my game. It’s just, like I said, the best teacher in life is life experience, and I’ve experienced it all,” James told the media last Thursday.

LeBron faced Gregg Popovich and the San Antonio Spurs three times in his career. So, it definitely played a big part in shaping his mentality. For Bron’s career, it’s 3-1 Pop and the Spurs. Still, he’s now on a path to add another title to his resume. As LeBron knows, it’s due to all the wins, losses, and life lessons. Visit our Spurs page for more of the latest team and player news.