In 2011, LeBron James was still searching for his first NBA championship. James and the Miami Heat advanced to the NBA Finals against the Dallas Mavericks.
The Heat were ultimately defeated by the Mavs, and Dirk Nowitzki was awarded Finals MVP honors. After James’ crushing defeat, his wife Savannah, his teammate and friend Dwyane Wade and his wife Gabrielle Union decided to take a vacation in the Bahamas.
During a recent meeting with Showtime’s Rachel Nichols, she recalled how hard James took defeat.
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LeBron won two championships during his tenure with the Heat. He later returned to Cleveland and brought home the franchise’s first title and won a ring with the Lakers in 2020.
But Wade’s memories of the 2011 offseason potentially offer insight into LeBron’s mindset as he faced the pressure of failing to secure his first championship.
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According to Wade, LeBron looked out at a swimming pool from a balcony just after arriving at the hotel.
Nichols asked Wade if James was aware of the risk the jump presented. A jump injury would certainly have impacted James’ career.
«He said how deep do you think that is. [I said] I don’t know, eight or nine feet? He said let me see. [He] she took off her things, jumped into the pool from the balcony. I promise you… This guy is crazy,» Wade said.
But Wade mentioned that he didn’t think James was thinking about injury risk at the time. Perhaps James was simply using the jump as a way to escape basketball for a brief moment.
James previously said that the holidays were a turning point for him.
LeBron previously remembered that vacation as a turning point in his career. He said that on the first day of the trip, Wade and Union had candid conversations about LeBron’s identity and public persona as a villain (via ESPN):
«They said, ‘Listen, you need to get back to who you are. We understand the representation of who they want you to be right now. That’s not you,» James recalled when talking about a conversation with Wade and Union. .
«You didn’t get to this point in your career playing the game with the black hat and that mentality that it’s me against the world. You need to get back to that Magic Johnson feeling, mixed with a few other guys, that Penny Hardaway style, but still so that determination of MJ [Michael Jordan]. You have to go back to that because that’s what you are. You are who you are. You are nobody else. Don’t try to be anybody else.'»
After the jump and the chat, James was apparently able to relax for the rest of the vacation.
James, now in his 20th NBA season, is the league’s all-time leading scorer.
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He hopes to win the fifth title of his career. But first, James and the Lakers will have to get past the Memphis Grizzlies.
Los Angeles currently leads its first round series against Memphis 3-2. Game 6 begins at 10:30 p.m. EST. If the Grizzlies win, they will force a Game 7, which would take place on Sunday.