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LeBron James: 'I've Always Been a Winner' After Lakers Reach Conference Finals

Blake SchusterAnalyst IIISeptember 13, 2020

Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James (23) directs the offense during the second half of an NBA conference semifinal playoff basketball game against the Houston Rockets Saturday, Sept. 12, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

LeBron James doesn't need to show much modesty after 17 years in the NBA, three titles and a one-time streak of eight straight trips to the Finals. 

He's not going to show any after the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Houston Rockets in five games to move on to the Western Conference Finals—and Lakers fans who've waited since 2010 to reach this stage don't need him to.

James wanted the pressure that comes with playing in L.A., and he's close to delivering on those expectations. 

Ben Golliver @BenGolliver

Lakers’ LeBron James after reaching Western Conference finals: “I am a winner & I’ve always been a winner.... I understand what the Laker faithful were going through the last decade, not being in the postseason or competing for championships. I took that responsibility as well.” https://t.co/NBAIBiMfxq

"I am a winner, and I've always been a winner," James told reporters after the Lakers defeated the Rockets 119-96 on Saturday. "... I've won at every level, so it's always kind of worked for me, so I understand what comes with that. I understand what the Laker faithful—what they felt and what they were going through the last decade."

Saturday's victory put James in his 11th conference finals, but it's the first for Los Angeles since the roster featured Kobe Bryant, Derek Fisher, Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom.

That was also the last time the Lakers won an NBA title, as they defeated Boston Celtics in seven games to cap off the 2009-10 campaign. 

One year after the Lakers finished 10th in the Western Conference, James has molded L.A. into a contender that's ready to earn a 17th championship. 

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If he can deliver, it'll be the third franchise he's won a title with after doing so with the Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers. 

His star teammate will lean on that experience, as this will be the first conference finals appearance for Anthony Davis, who will have as much to prove as ever. 

Now James will have to show AD and some of his less experienced teammates how much more it takes to earn a ring.

 

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