In an interview with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols, LeBron James delved into what led to his decision to sign with the Lakers this offseason.
It’s kind of a bittersweet moment right now. Sitting here in my school that I’m opening, around these kids, around this community. And then at the same time, making the switch to the other coast, being a part of the Lakers now. It’s always a tough decision when you leave home or you leave an organization that you’ve been with for multiple years. It was tough to leave the first time I left. When I left Miami, leaving Cleveland once again… definitely tough. But you know, it’s a decision that was best for me and my family. I think both sides feel great and appreciative of the moments and the time that we have spent together.
When asked why the announcement came quicker than in the past, James said:
I’m at a point where I know what I want, what I like, and my family played a huge part in that. So no need for the dramatics of the drawn-out conclusion of things. Just get right to it.
LeBron was also asked about why he chose the Lakers over ballclubs that were closer to immediately contending for a title, he responded with this:
I definitely thought long and hard about the possibilities of lining up alongside Ben [Simmons] and [Joel] Embiid, or lining up alongside [James] Harden and Chris [Paul]. I just felt like at this point in my career, the ultimate for me — just like when I went to Miami, everyone kind of looks at me joining a superteam, but if people look at it, I think Miami was [47-35] the year before I joined that team and you can look at the Lakers’ record — so I like the challenge of being able to help a team get to some place they haven’t been in quite a while. Obviously, the Lakers haven’t made the playoffs in a few years, but the Lakers organization and the historical franchise matches up there with all the greats — you can look at the Cowboys, and you can look at the Patriots, you can look at Manchester United, the Boston Celtics — these are historical franchises and for me to be a part of that, I think it’s a great moment for not only me but for my family and for the history of basketball in general….I love the young guys that they have, and I’m not trying to force my hand in no way, shape or form. I believe Rob [Pelinka] and Magic [Johnson] and Jeanie [Buss] have done an unbelievable job of reshaping what the organization should be, keeping Dr. Buss’ dreams and what he was all about, to keep that going. I feel like they know what’s best for the team and I wanted to be a piece to continue that motion of being back to a championship franchise where they should be.