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Coronavirus: LeBron James remaining optimistic over NBA season

By Sacha Pisani
LeBron James

Los Angeles, April 9: LeBron James is optimistic the coronavirus-hit NBA season can resume, though the Los Angeles Lakers superstar would struggle to find closure if the campaign did not conclude.

The NBA has been on hiatus since March 11 amid the COVID-19 pandemic, with over 88,500 deaths worldwide and more than 1,518,700 confirmed cases.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver said the league will not be able to make any decisions regarding the season until at least May.

Asked how he would feel if the season could not be finished, James – whose Lakers were top of the Western Conference at the time of the postponement – told reporters on Wednesday: "I don't know if I will be able to have any closure."

Initially against the idea of playing games without fans if and when the season restarts, three-time NBA champion James added: "If it comes to a point if we're playing without our fans, we still know that we have Laker faithful with us in spirit.

"We know they'll be home cheering us on, online, on their phones, on their tablets watching us playing so hopefully we can bottle that energy that we know we're getting from them.

"Bottle that loyalty that they've had for not only this year but since the Lakers have been in Los Angeles. So hopefully we're able to channel that. Channel that energy, channel that focus and bring them with us if we're either at Staples without fans or we're somewhere in an isolated location playing the game of basketball."

The NBA is reportedly exploring the possibility of holding the entire postseason in one location – Las Vegas. The Lakers had played 63 of the 82-game regular season when the campaign was halted.

"I believe once [the pandemic is] under control and they allow us to resume some type of activity, I would love to get the season back going," James, 35, continued. "I feel like we're in a position where we can get back and start to compete for a championship, get back to doing what we love to do, making our Laker faithful proud of us, of being back on the floor.

"And if it's in one single isolated destination ... if it's Las Vegas or somewhere else that can hold us and keep us in the best possible chance to be safe, not only on the floor but also off the floor as well, then those conversations will be had. Just figuring out a way."

After a difficult first season in Los Angeles, James had returned to his brilliant best for the Lakers in 2019-20 – the veteran's performances catapulting him into the mix for a fifth MVP award.

At the time of the NBA suspending the league, James had been averaging 25.7 points, 10.6 assists and 7.9 rebounds per game for the Western Conference-leading Lakers.

"I can have some satisfaction on what our team has been able to do this year, having a first-year coach, first-year system, a whole new coaching staff, bringing on so many new pieces to our team this year," James said.

"Doing the things that I honestly -- like I told you guys all year -- I honestly didn't think that we would be able to come together as fast as we did. I thought it would take us a lot longer than it did. But I was wrong. I was very wrong about that."

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Story first published: Thursday, April 9, 2020, 10:00 [IST]
Other articles published on Apr 9, 2020
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