Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James was asked about his confidence and comfort level in the NBA Finals after Sunday's Game 5, a 104-91 Golden State Warriors victory. A reporter suggested that perhaps James was feeling more free because there's less pressure due to the team being undermanned, referencing the deep 3s he made in the fourth quarter.
"Nah," James responded. "I feel confident because I'm the best player in the world. It's simple."
The reporter pressed on, asking if there's less pressure with this particular Finals team.
"Nah," James said again. "It's the Finals. It's something you dream of when you're a kid. And for me, I put the work in. I put the work in every single day, either when you guys are there, when you guys are not there. Some of our beat writers see me, they know how much work I put into it. And I give everything to my teammates. And when you're true to the game, it doesn't matter if it's a regular-season game or a Finals game, you just go out and trust what you put into the game and you live with the results.
"It shouldn't be crazy when I make threes, though," he said with a smile. "It's just a shot."
There have been a lot of storylines in these playoffs, but this is the first time I've heard someone posit that there's less pressure on James, who is carrying his team and putting up ridiculous numbers while taking on almost all of the playmaking responsibility. This is also the first time I can recall James calling himself the best player in the world, even though that has pretty much been the consensus for several years.
James finished with 40 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists in the loss, by the way.