Team LeBron – 148, Team Stephen – 145
Q. We’ve been talking since the press conferences began about how much more effort and energy was into tonight. How much of that was changing up the format and having a Team LeBron and Team Steph? Could you have done this if it was still East versus West?
LEBRON JAMES: I mean, obviously, we don’t know that. We don’t know. But I think the format was great. I think the fans did a great job of reacting to it in a very positive way.
For me to be the captain of the team, Steph being the captain of his team and us doing that, that draft was something that hadn’t been done before. The great thing about our commissioner, he’s absolutely okay with trying something new, to change the format, and it definitely worked out for everybody. It worked out not only for the players, not only for the league, but for our fans, for everybody. It was a great weekend, and we capped it off the right way.
Q. When you look at the youngsters that’s coming in today and it seems like people always want to push out the older guys, do you take that as a challenge now that you’ve got the MVP Award? But do you take on the challenge of still playing at a high level?
LEBRON JAMES: Listen, I respect the younger guys, and I love them. My boys love them. They play with them in the video games. When they see them they’re always speaking to them. They’re the next crew, for sure. They’ve got to keep this thing going.
What I take pride in is taking care of my body. Taking care of my body. Making sure I’m available every night and continue to get better and better. I don’t really take it as a young guy, okay, I need to show him that I’m still able to do this. I need to continue to show myself, you know, because every night I step on the floor I have to lead my guys or prove to myself that I’m still able to play at a high level. I feel great.
Q. The format is still evolving. They said they might lean toward televising it next year, which I know you’re supportive of. They also said as of right now there is no rule against a player being a captain two years in a row. The inclination is if the fans want you to be captain again or Steph to be captain, they’ll let you do it again. Is it something you want to do again?
LEBRON JAMES: I’m not against it, that’s for sure. I had a heck of a time doing it in the conference call with Steph. We’re going to try to figure out ways we can continue to get better and better. But if we decided that, just like the coaches, you can’t be a coach of a team no matter if your team is number one the East or the West every year, they offset it every year.
So it would be great to see somebody else next year if they wanted to do that format or they wanted to keep it the same with the two top vote getters. Either or works for me. I’ve just got to play some good ball in the first half of the season next year to make sure I’m in Charlotte.
Q. LeBron, that step-back three from the left wing seems to be something in your bag that you’re going to late in games with more regularity. What is the origin of the shot? Any player you played with before give you any inspiration on it?
LEBRON JAMES: No, just something I kind of worked on in the summertime. And in order to get better with something you work on in the summertime you’ve got to try to implement it in practice and implement it into the game. Get more comfortable with it.
So we had a chance to actually take the lead before that possession, and Paul kind of got blocked by Embiid. Kyrie had a great tip-in. Russ kind of got his hand on it. We couldn’t get that, we fouled DeMar and he only made one out of two. So I’ve got Embiid on me, knowing that he’s going to give me a little space and I’m going to create a little bit more space once I get to that step- back. It just felt good when it left my hands.
Q. What are your thoughts on playing with Kyrie again, what was that like, and were you able to fall back into old habits and run any old sets you were able to run previously?
LEBRON JAMES: It was phenomenal. It was phenomenal. Anytime you’re able to get back and play with one of your old teammates, and as great as he is, we all know that. The flashiness, the ball handling, the ability to shoot, it was just great to get back on the floor with him. It was a great moment, for sure.
Q. Can you now divulge what your draft process was, your starting five? Can you now let us know who it was?
LEBRON JAMES: Yeah, I took Kevin first, then I took Anthony Davis, and I followed that with Kyrie and DeMarcus.
Q. Did you have fun with the GM process, and what advice did you get? Did you get some advice from your boys?
LEBRON JAMES: No, no, my boys didn’t give me no advice. But I know who they like to play with in the video games. But I know who I like watching. I know who I like watching and I had a draft board. I had a process. Some of it went to — it almost went according to plan. A couple of them fell through, but I was satisfied and happy with all the guys that I got.
Even with the four guys that got injured we were able to get four new guys that came in and played well for us.
Q. Where did you hide that draft board? It wasn’t in your locker room. Where was it at?
LEBRON JAMES: Ain’t none of your business, you’re going too far, man (laughing).
Q. When you look back on this weekend, what will stand out most to you about L.A. All-Star Weekend?
LEBRON JAMES: I think L.A. is a perfect place to host All-Star Weekend. It’s one of the few cities that we have in our league that can accommodate all of this. And when I mean all of this, you have over 200-plus countries that’s covering the game. You’ve got so many people from all over the world coming to watch our game and just be a part of All-Star Weekend. And we know the traffic. We understand that. But traffic is traffic and — but L.A. can accommodate that. It’s built for stars. It’s built for entertainment. It’s built for cameras and bright lights, and it’s a great place for it.
I hope everybody had a great weekend. I know I did. I know my family did. So it was a great weekend.
Q. LeBron, you won MVP of this game in 2006. To win again now, how is your approach to this game? How much energy do you want to expend? How has that evolved or not evolved over these years?
LEBRON JAMES: I don’t know, the last one I won?
Q. No, that was the first one.
LEBRON JAMES: Oh, the first one. I don’t know. I mean, I just always felt like I could be a part of this league and make a difference and make an impact. From my very first All-Star up until now, I just try to get better and better and not only show myself but show my peers and show everybody that I belong. It’s always been my fans who voted me in. For 14 straight years, my fans have voted me in as an All-Star starter, and it’s been up to me to go out and let them know and show them, listen, I appreciate that and here’s what I’m going to give to you every time you vote me in.
So it’s just a good time to be alive, I can tell you that, and play this game that I love, and also being able to have my family and my boys and my little girl, and to be able to see me doing what I’m doing at a high level right now and know what’s going on. So it’s pretty cool.
Q. LeBron, congratulations. Looking forward to the second half of the season, we know what your goal is. What would a fourth championship mean to you personally? What do you think a second championship would mean to the city of Cleveland?
LEBRON JAMES: Well, I mean, championships is what I play for, and along the way you’re able to have — if you’re able to have some accolades along the journey, then it’s really cool, and this is one of them. We have a lot of work to do. We just added four new guys before the break, and we have a lot of work to do.
So I really don’t like to think that too far ahead. But obviously winning championships is what it’s all about. That’s what this league is all about and hopefully at the end of the road then I have the Cavs there to actually compete for one, to be in a Finals representing the East.
So that’s my goal. Getting back. I’m looking forward to getting back to our guys. I know they’re excited, and that’s going to be my mindset. But we’ll see what happens.
Q. Can you walk us through that play you guys had with about 30 seconds back to take the lead? Dwane said it was set up initially but then you guys improvised the end?
LEBRON JAMES: Yeah, it actually did. I was taking the ball out, and then we had two crossers at the top to just get the defense moving. Then we wanted to get it to Russ. Russ being so dynamic in his ability to break down defenses, we wanted to get it to him. Russ was able to make one move, they switched, and Russ kind of was left up in the air. He was able to hit Kyrie on the baseline, and playing with Kyrie for so many games, you know, if I just make myself available, you know, we would find me.
He found me and I was able to make the left-hand lay-up over Draymond. So you have plays, but then sometimes you have to improvise when it breaks down, and we were able to do that. That’s the beauty of being on the floor with a bunch of All-Stars. It doesn’t always work that way, but when you have All-Stars with guys with high IQ and guys that want to play the game and play the game the right way, it works out for the best