As the cliche says, talk is cheap; actions, more often than not, send a truer statement of intent. On Tuesday, LeBron James had both areas covered. The forward posted 28 points, 12 rebounds, and eight assists on the night, leading the Lakers to victory in Game 4 of the NBA Finals. His influence, however, wasn’t limited to the box score.
Before the Lakers assembled for their pregame preparations, LeBron James sent his teammates a two-word message. While it was simple, it told the Lakers everything they needed to know ahead of Game 4.
LeBron James and the Lakers seize control of the NBA Finals
Coming into the 2019-20 NBA season, the LA Laker were one of the favorites to win the championship. While plenty has happened, both on and off the court, since the campaign began, LeBron James and his teammates are one win away from the ultimate prize.
The Lakers jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the series; the Miami Heat were hit by some brutal injuries, too, making their task even harder. Game 3, however, briefly gave the Eastern Conference team a lifeline. With Jimmy Butler playing the game of his career and both LeBron and Anthony Davis struggling, the Floridians pulled within one game. While they were still facing an uphill climb, they were back in the series.
Game 4 was closer than the previous contests, but LeBron and his Lakers came out on top and established a commanding 3-1 series lead. While recent history has proven that the series isn’t over until the confetti is falling, it’s tough to imagine the Heat pulling off three straight wins, even if Goran Dragic returns to action.
Inspiring the Lakers with a pregame text message
According to Anthony Davis, the LA Lakers squad felt a bit “on edge” coming into Game 4; while a single loss wouldn’t be back-breaking, it would allow the Miami Heat back into the series. In that context, LeBron James decided to step up.
As he explained in his postgame press conference, King James’ leadership efforts started after his pregame nap. While he only sent his teammates a simple, two-word text message, it told them everything they needed to know about Game 4.
“I woke up from my nap,” James explained in a video clip shared by NBA TV. “This morning, after our team meeting, I just felt that vibe. I felt that pressure. I felt like, for me personally, this is one of the biggest games of my career, and I just wanted to relay that message to my teammates [about] what kind of zone I was in, what type of moment it was.”
The message was only two words: “must win.” According to the rest of the Lakers, however, it still spoke volumes.
We see the message from our leader,” Anthony Davis explained, according to ESPN’s Dave McMeniman. “And he just left it at that.”
It, of course, doesn’t hurt that James backed-up his text message with a strong individual performance. Actions may speak louder than words, but LeBron had both sides of the equation covered.
LeBron James is a man on a mission
Having just called Game 4 a “must-win” and holding a 3-1 series lead, you might think that LeBron James could chill out a bit before the Lakers’ next meeting with the Miami Heat. The veteran forward, however, isn’t ready to relax just yet; he’s currently on a mission, and there will be plenty of downtime once the season ends.
“At this point in the season, I don’t care about rest. I really don’t. I don’t care about sleep,” James continued. “I don’t care about resting because I can rest in a week, max, if it happens to go there. I could rest for a month straight, which I won’t do because of who I am; you guys know that.
On Thursday night, the LA Lakers will have their first chance to close out the series and clinch the championship. While it’s unclear if he’ll send another text message, it’s safe to assume that LeBron James will be ready to give it his all once the game tips off.