LeBron James appeared on the Larry King Show that will air later this week. Here is part of the chat transcript from interview.
CNN released the full transcript ( set to air Friday, June 4th, On CNN)
Lebron on Larry king: (sendlebrontochicago.com)
KING: Did you go to basketball games as a kid? Did you go see the Cavaliers play?
JAMES: No, I didn’t. It wasn’t affordable to go to a Cavs game. If you could catch a few on the TV, you’d be lucky.
KING: Were you a Cavs fan?
JAMES: Growing up? No I wasn’t. I was a Chicago Bulls, Michael Jordan fan growing up.
KING: So the president’s suggestion might carry weight, right?
JAMES: It may, it may carry weight.
KING: So why the Bulls and not your own team?
JAMES: I was just, wow, I mean, Michael Jordan was just my inspiration. I mean, the things that he was able to do out on the basketball court, I loved. Everybody wanted to fly like Jordan, pull up and hit a game winner at the sound of the horn like Michael. You wanted to do commercials, you wanted to have his shoes. You know, everything that he did, I wanted to do.
KING: When did you first meet him?
JAMES: I met Michael Jordan, my first time, I was in the 10th grade. I went to Chicago and they played at a gym called Hoops. That was the first time I met him. It was like he was walking on water when he came towards me.
KING: Did he know who you were?
JAMES: Yes, he did. He did. And that was more gratifying and it was just very humbling that he knew who I was.
KING: He owns the team now.
KING: Do you ever think about the possibility of playing for him?
JAMES: I’ve never thought about it. I do think it’s great that he owns the team. You see a former player in our league and you see Mike and the things that he was able to do on the court. To see him still being successful off the court I think is awesome.
KING: But you can think about it now, because the money is going to be — all things equal, it’s going to be about the same.
KING: So in your head, is there places you’d like to go?
I’m not going to ask you to commit.
JAMES: Right. I think…
KING: But if you want to commit, you could do that here.
JAMES: Well, I mean, to me, I think my ultimate — my ultimate goal is winning championships and — and I understand that me going down as one of the greats will not happen until I, you know, win a championship. So for me, the team that I decided to go toward (INAUDIBLE) in Cleveland, that ultimately has — has the best chance for me to win a championship not one year, but multiple years. But for me to continue to get better and help that team win, I think, ultimately, would be my decision. I’m going to do what’s best for me and my family.
KING: So can we say it will not be a poor team, a team of players who you do not calculate would be there to win championships, because you can’t play forever?
JAMES: No, I cannot play forever. And that is absolutely right. But the team that I go to or — or, you know, whatever the case may be, will have an opportunity to win championships in multiple years and not just because of LeBron James.
KING: So it has to be a good team?
KING: All right.
Do you lean at all toward the place you know the best?
I mean do they have an edge going in…
JAMES: Oh, absolutely.
KING: — your home team?
JAMES: Absolutely. Because, you know, this city, these fans, I mean, have given me a lot in these seven years. And, you know, for me, it’s comfortable. So I’ve got a lot of memories here. And — and so it does have an edge.
But it’s a — it’s a very — it’s going to be a very interesting summer and I’m looking forward to it.
KING: You can tell me — that you’re going to get together, you, with Bosh and Wade and Stoudemire and Lee and Johnson and Allen and The Witsky (ph) and all of you sort of…
KING: This is funny?
JAMES: We can be like a little committee?
JAMES: A little free agent committee.
KING: (INAUDIBLE) give a shot at it, a free agent committee. No one can stop you. You’re all free agents. The league can’t tell you not to do this.
KING: What if you go there and I go here and we go here?
Is that possible?
JAMES: I don’t know to that extent, but it will be fun. It will be fun to get all the free agents together and, you know, figure out a way how we can make the league better.
JAMES: Figure out a way how we can make ourselves…
KING: (INAUDIBLE) do that.
JAMES: No, if — if we could, you know, we would — you know, if it was like baseball, we would all go to the same team.
KING: You can’t do that?
JAMES: No, we can’t do that.
KING: (INAUDIBLE) cap?
KING: But you can get together and discuss for the better of the league…
JAMES: No, we can…
KING: — if I went here and you played there, right, you…
JAMES: Oh, I mean, and in certain situations where you may be able to pair witha — with a goop (ph) one or two guys and — and better that franchise and guys better these
franchises. But I think this is the most — this is the most sought out summer in — in basketball history, because of all the free agents.
KING: Are you the ringleader of the group?
JAMES: I am the ringleader.
KING: And we’ll be back and we’ll pick up on that.
JAMES: Absolutely. I mean and — I mean the mayor of New York is — he’s great. I mean he’s — he’s done some great things. But it is humbling, and not just from the mayor of New York, but, you know, you had a president saying…
KING: Go to Chicago.
JAMES: — you know, go to Chicago and you have other cities and — and other people wanting you to be a part of their city, wanting you to be part of their franchise. It’s very humbling, because I work very hard at my craft and what I do. So it pays off.
KING: But you already said, it has to be a good team.
Do you want a say in who the coach is?
JAMES: That’s not — no, not really. You know, I think that a lot of great coaches. You know, a lot of great coaches have been part of this league for years. But I’m not one to go into the off year and say this is who I want my coach to be. Now, there are some coaches, that, you know, if I had an opportunity to play for, I would be delighted. But I’m not as far as — as picking a coach
KING: We’re back with LeBron James, the most talked about figure in sports in years in the United States.
You haven’t made a decision yet, is that correct?
KING: OK. Would you say, all things being equal, you’re close?
JAMES: I’m far from close.
KING: Far from close?
JAMES: Yes. I don’t — I don’t — honestly, I haven’t — because July is still a monthaway, less than a month away. So I haven’t — I haven’t began to, you know — I’ve thought about it, but I haven’t began to strategize exactly.
KING: A couple of other things in that area.
Will talks with these other players be helpful?
JAMES: Absolutely, because you definitely want to be a part of a team that can give the best opportunity to win. But a team consists of individuals and, you know, there’s a lot of individuals that can help myself win and I can — and I can help a lot of these other guys win, too. So that has a lot to do with it.
KING: So that’s an important sit-down?
JAMES: Oh, absolutely.
KING: It isn’t the money, though, is it?
I mean the money is all — it’s got to be the same money…
JAMES: Well, the money is going to be there. The money is going to come. I mean it’s not — it’s not — it’s not about the money. I mean I think right now, if I stopped playing the game of basketball, I’m set. My family is set…
KING: For life?
JAMES: For life. So it’s not about the money. It’s all about winning for me.
KING: What was it like — by the way, is — one other thing.
Is there any one person that could be someone you would go to to say listen, I’m down to this, what advice would you give me?
Is there a person in your setting…
JAMES: Myself, I think.
KING: You’re going to be…
JAMES: Ultimately, that one person is me. You know, if I — you know, even with the discussion with the rest of the free agents, with my friends, those free agents, with my supporting cast, ultimately, it’s going to — it’s going to be me. I’m going to have to sit down and say where do you want to play?
How do you going to — what’s going to be your future?
KING: — it’s Buffett.
What about President Obama?
Do you like him?
KING: You supported him?
KING: Do you — you’ve been — have you talked to him since he’s been in office?
JAMES: Once or twice. I have — I had an opportunity to go and go by the White — go by the White House. And he’s a — I think he’s a great person. I mean he does a lot — he’s continuing — he’s continued to do a lot for this country and I think the first — the first full term for him it’s going to be rebuilding term. And I think, you know, and then he’s going to be able to — to in — to put what he wants ultimately in the (INAUDIBLE).
KING: How good a player is he?
JAMES: I haven’t — I haven’t had an opportunity to play against him in basketball. But I’m looking forward to it. He told he’d do it on the basketball courts on campus, so I want to go by there and play.
Also be sure to check out this link (Chicago puts up Billboard for James!).