PORTLAND, Ore. -- Part of the development process for any new team is having individuals willing to make sacrifices for the good of the group. When it comes to the Cleveland Cavaliers, they'll have LeBron James policing that process to make sure it occurs.
"I won't allow individuals to be selfish," James said after shootaround Tuesday morning in advance of Cleveland's game against the Portland Trail Blazers. "If I'm on the team, you automatically have to be unselfish. So, I'm not worried about it."
It doesn't appear to be a problem so far. The first adjective James used to describe Kevin Love on Tuesday when asked about the homecoming game for the Oregon native was "unselfish." If anything, James could be criticized for being too unselfish in the early going as his over-passing led to eight turnovers in Cleveland's 95-90 season-opening loss to the New York Knicks.
James, playing in his 12th season, said he's become more comfortable setting the tone on his teams as he's matured over the years since entering the league straight out of high school.
"It took a little time," James said. "Obviously, you got to earn your ranks in this league, first of all. When you become a leader of a team and you become successful at doing things the right way, then everyone kind of buys into it. Everyone wants to win, I would hope. Would you rather play selfish basketball and lose or play unselfish basketball, sacrifice and win?"
Clearly, it is a message that the Cavs have been mulling over ever since training camp began in late September.
"With this team, guys one through 15, we're all going to have to sacrifice," Love said. "I think that's the change that I'm going to have to learn. I think it stays true throughout the entire team and as long as we win, we're going to be happy. That's what we want to accomplish. We know our goals."