As LeBron James and Kyrie Irving walked off the court at Oracle Arena on Monday night after losing their 2017 NBA Finals series to the Warriors, LeBron was spotted putting his arm around his teammate and telling him that the Cavaliers will be back in the Finals for a fourth straight season next year.
"We’ll be back," LeBron said, "me and you. We’ll be back."
And LeBron is right. The Cavaliers will, in all likelihood, be back in the Finals next season. As they showed during the 2017 NBA Playoffs, they’re still on a completely different level when compared to all of the other teams in the Eastern Conference, so they should make a return to the Finals in 2018.
But in the immediate aftermath of the Cavaliers’ loss to the Warriors, LeBron—who became the first player in NBA history to average a triple-double during the Finals this year—didn’t spend too much time talking about the future. Instead, he talked to reporters about how he was feeling about losing to the Warriors just one year after beating them in the Finals. He also shared his feelings on the concept of "superteams." And he reflected on the season the Cavaliers just had. Here’s a quick rundown of everything LeBron discussed after the Finals ended.
On what it felt like to lose to the Warriors in the Finals in five games: "I left everything on the floor every game, all five games. So for me personally, I have nothing to be—I have no reason to put my head down. I have no reason to look back at what I could have done or what I shouldn’t have done or what I could have done better for the team. I left everything I had out on the floor every single game for five games this Finals."
On how the NBA is going to deal with the Warriors moving forward: "I don’t know. I need to sit down and figure this thing out. And so I don’t know as far as me personally right now. But as far as that team, they’re going to be here for a while. They’re going to be around for a while. Pretty much all their guys are in their 20s. Pretty much all their big-name guys are in their 20s, and they don’t show any signs of slowing down."
On whether or not this was his best individual Finals performance: "This is my eighth trip to the Finals, and I’ve had some pretty good ones in my day. And like I said, I just try to do everything to just try to help this team win and more. For me to go out there and for the guys that allowed me to be the leader that I am and allow me and trust me that I’m going to make the right plays and I’m going to do the right things and have the right intention, that’s a compliment to my guys."
On why he won’t take much time off this summer: "It’s just a lifestyle for me. So I probably will be back in the my gym in the next couple days just because it’s just who I am. As far as being back on the basketball court, I’m going to take a while. I don’t need to be back on the basketball court right now. I need to get off of my feet and let my joints and let my body kind of recover from being out on the floor for 14 straight years. But I’ll train. I’ll train all summer. It’s just a part of who I am now."
On why he doesn’t believe in the concept of "superteams": "I don’t believe I’ve played for a superteam. I don’t believe in that. I don’t believe we’re a superteam here."
On how he feels about Kevin Durant winning his first NBA title: "I’m not happy he won his first. I’m not happy at all. But at the end of the day, from when I played him in the 2012 Finals to now, like I said, experience is the best teacher in life, and he’s just experiencing and experiencing and experiencing. And it also helps when you are able to experience some things with this team as well. He felt like he needed to reassemble and reassess his career and come here…Getting that first championship for me was like having my first son. It was just a proud moment, something that you never, ever forget. And at the end of the day, nobody can—no matter what anybody says from now on in your career or whatever they say, they can never take away from you being a champion. That’s something that they are always going to speak about, about you."
As LeBron told Kyrie Irving after the Finals ended on Monday, the Cavaliers will likely try to become champions again next season. But for now, LeBron sounds like a guy who is ready for a break. And after seeing everything he was able to accomplish this season, he definitely earned it.