LeBron James held his annual King’s Academy in Akron, Ohio, this past summer. During the event, LBJ sat down to answer some burning questions we had about his high school career, game-time habits and rise to being top dog in the NBA.
STACK: Tell us the feeling you get when you step onto NBA hardwood.
LBJ: Playing in the NBA is a dream come true for me. I always wanted to be in the NBA when I was younger, and I’ve always worked on my game every day to prepare myself for when I got there. Once it became true, it was an unbelievable feeling for me. Being able to come straight from high school and to make an impact on a team was great. We don’t have that many guys in the league who came straight from high school, compared to guys who went to college or came from overseas.
STACK: Was it tough to be a team leader as a rookie?
LBJ: Every game, I had to bring doughnuts to shoot-around for the whole team. It had to be two dozen Krispy Kreme glazed doughnuts every single game. I was 18 years old trying to tell 27- to 30-year-olds what to do, so it was tough. Now I’m 23, and I’m telling 30- to 32-year-olds, and even some of my coaches, what to do [laughs].
STACK: What was it like taking the Celtics to the brink of elimination?
LBJ: Playing the Celtics and being able to be part of playoff basketball was a great experience. A lot of players don’t get a chance to play in the playoffs. The last few years, I’ve had the opportunity to win and advance, and we lost to the team that ended up winning the whole thing. The Boston Celtics are a very good team, but to be honest, once they beat us, I didn’t watch much of it at all.
STACK: Is it tough to deal with the physical nature of playoff games?
LBJ: My favorite thing to do during the playoffs is sleep [laughs]. Playoff games are so intense and so long and physical that any time you can get a chance to sleep or rest definitely helps.
STACK: You’re known as one of the NBA’s all-time best at driving the lane. Has that always been a weapon?
LBJ: I was always an attack player, ever since I was little. I’ve always wanted to get inside the lane and finish; it’s always been natural for me. You can work on your ball-handling skills and a lot of other things, but you just have to be aggressive. You have to want to go to the hole and take contact, or want to finish. It’s all about whether you’re aggressive, and I’m a very aggressive person.
STACK: What’s with the nail biting during games?
LBJ: It’s a habit. A lot of people think I’m nervous when I’m biting my nails, so they think they can attack me or get at me. It’s a little reverse psychology; I’m kind of faking them out.
STACK: What’s been your most memorable moment as an athlete?
LBJ: High school was the best time of my life. I got an opportunity to play basketball and win state titles. My greatest achievement was winning the National Championship my senior year in high school. My friends and I challenged ourselves in fifth grade to win a national championship. We went from age eight all the way to 18 and finally accomplished that our senior year in high school.