LeBron James has seen and experienced a lot in his Hall of Fame career. But not even the three-time NBA champion could truly prepare for the challenges of playing in the NBA bubble in Orlando. Instead of playing in front of thousands of fans, NBA players have been reduced to competing in front of a virtual audience. Plus, they have not been able to see their loved ones for quite some time. Despite these challenges, James has put the LA Lakers in a position to advance to the Western Conference finals.
And recently, James revealed his secret to staying sane in the NBA bubble as he tries to bring a title back to LA.
LeBron James has been a force in Orlando
The COVID-19 pandemic forced the NBA to put its season on pause earlier in the year. However, the league resumed play in Orlando, albeit under very specific circumstances. Players have essentially been quarantined, which means they have not been able to leave or have visitors. Plus, they have had to compete in front of virtual fans rather than packed arenas.
Still, that has not slowed down LeBron James. Though the Lakers showed some rust after clinching the No. 1 seed, they have resumed their dominant form in the postseason. Of course, James has been their brightest star.
In a competitive series against the Portland Trail Blazers, the supremely skilled forward averaged 27.4 points, 10.2 rebounds, and 10.2 assists. After falling to Portland in the series opener, LA ripped off four straight wins to set up a showdown with the Houston Rockets in the semifinals.
So far, James has continued to play at a high level. After dropping 20 points in another surprising Game 1 loss, he stormed back with a strong line of 28/11/9 in a Game 2 victory. On Tuesday, James poured in 36 points on 56.5% shooting in the Lakers’ 112-102 win over the Rockets. Though he scored just 16 points in Thursday’s victory, James finished one assist shy of achieving his third triple-double of the postseason.
James reveals his secret to staying sane in the NBA bubble
As great as he has looked on the basketball court, LeBron James has had to overcome the challenges of playing in the NBA bubble. After all, isolating from family and friends can take an emotional and psychological toll. The stress and anxiety brought on by remaining quarantined certainly should not get overlooked.
For James, the social isolation from his loved ones has proven particularly difficult. According to USA Today, the Lakers star has relied on FaceTime to connect with his mother, Gloria, and his three children.
“Family always comes first,” James said. “Having that in your life, you have to put yourself in the position of what centers you.”
Moreover, the four-time NBA MVP revealed his secret to staying sane in the NBA bubble. And it turns out his method is actually quite simple.
“Meditating helps a lot for me personally with taking a lot of deep breaths, closing my eyes, and just centering myself and listening to my inner self and talking to my kids and my mom,” James explained. “That definitely is something that keeps me sane in the bubble.”
Lakers can punch their ticket to the Western Conference finals tonight
Whatever method LeBron James employs to stay sane, it’s clearly working. The Lakers have jumped out to a 3-1 series lead over the Rockets and can punch their ticket to the Western Conference finals tonight.
Heading into Game 5, LA looks to finish off a Houston team that simply can’t contend with James and Anthony Davis. The latter has averaged 28.5 points, 12.8 rebounds, 4.0 assists, and 1.5 blocks through four games. Davis scored a game-high 29 points on Thursday, and it appears as though the Rockets do not have a defender who can slow down the towering power forward.
Meanwhile, Houston’s guard trio of James Harden, Russell Westbrook, and Eric Gordon has been inconsistent. Harden’s shooting percentage has declined in every game. On Thursday, he shot a horrific 18.2% from the field, including 1-of-6 from behind the arc.
Meanwhile, Westbrook has averaged nearly as many turnovers (4.5) as assists (4.8) while shooting just 30.5% from 3-point territory. Gordon has actually been the most consistent; he has hit 42.7% of his 3-point attempts while averaging 19 points across the first four contests.
Unless the Rockets suddenly find their stroke from behind the arc, they have no shot at taking down LeBron James and Co. Ultimately, LA should send Houston home Saturday night, which would put James one step closer to making his 10th NBA Finals appearance.
All statistics courtesy of Basketball Reference