LeBron James: NBA Bubble Playoffs Will Be 'Toughest Championship Run' of Career

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistAugust 18, 2020

Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James (23) is pressured by Sacramento Kings' Alex Len (25) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Thursday, Aug. 13, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Kevin C. Cox/Pool Photo via AP)
Kevin C. Cox/Associated Press

LeBron James doesn't quite know how he'll tackle going for a championship inside the bubble. That said, he already views it as the biggest challenge of his career. 

"It's the toughest championship run for me," James said, per Mark Medina of USA Today. "From the circumstances of just being in here."

James hinted the bubble has created some discomfort from his normal process of gearing up for the playoffs. 

 "I lock in. I've been locked in for the last couple days once I knew Portland was our opponent. That's really the only thing I've pretty much been thinking about. Then, I prepare the same way. There's just some other things changed that are different than other previous seasons," James said. 

After putting together an MVP-caliber regular season, LeBron was noticeably rusty during seeding games. He averaged 22.0 points, 7.4 rebounds and 6.9 assists—all marked decreases from the regular season—while shooting a concerning 44.9 percent from the floor in seven games. The Lakers went 3-5 in seeding games and lost their hold on the championship-favorite status they've had for most of the season.

In his 17th NBA season and two decades into being one of the most famous athletes in the world, James has admitted to struggling to adjust to games without fans. LeBron spent most of his high school career playing in packed college gyms because of his rising celebrity status and has been the league's biggest draw since his arrival in 2003. 

James said being away from his family has also been difficult. 

“What's different is this is the environment. It's not home," James said “I'm not with my family, not in my own bed, I'm not in our own practice facility. I'm not preparing to be at Staples [Center] tomorrow with our fans. I'm not with a lot of things that's essential to my everyday regimen."

While an adjustment period is understandable, everyone is playing under the same rules in Orlando. The Lakers are at no greater advantage or disadvantage than any other team. If James doesn't hoist his fourth championship, it'll be because the team fell short of its lofty expectations.