OAKLAND, Calif. -- One day before the start of a high-stakes NBA Finals -- which, by the end of it, will either break a 52-year title-less streak for the city of Cleveland or drop LeBron James' personal record to just 2-5 in the championship round -- the Cavaliers star made it sound like he was already playing with house money.
"I don't really get involved into the whole pressure thing," James said Wednesday during his press conference on the Finals official media day. "I think I've exceeded expectations in my life as a professional. I'm a statistic that was supposed to go the other way -- growing up in the inner city, having a single-parent household. It was just me and my mother. So everything I've done has been a success.
"So as far as the game of basketball, I just go out and play it and have fun and love it and be true to the game and to my teammates and live with the results. So I don't -- [it] doesn't -- really get to me too much."
The former No. 1 pick straight out of high school that inked an endorsement contract with Nike worth tens of millions of dollars before even playing in a professional game has backed up the faith placed in his potential in just about any measurement other than his record in the Finals.
Playing in his 13th season, James has two championships and four MVP trophies to his name, while ranking 11th all time in scoring, 18th in assists and 24th in steals in the regular season and fourth in scoring, third in assists and fifth in steals in the postseason -- all at the ripe old age of 31.
However, should the Cavs fall to the Warriors -- a distinct possibility, considering Golden State finished with the best regular-season record in league history (73-9) this season -- it would be James' third consecutive Finals loss and the fifth of his career in seven trips.
Standing in his way could be Stephen Curry -- a two-time MVP himself -- who has a chance to boost his personal Finals record to 2-for-2.
Despite his and Curry's teams meeting on a collision course for the second straight season, James balked at applying a "rival" label to the Warriors' sharpshooter.
"You guys make rivals," James said, referring to the media. "I mean, I think it's great for the sport. It's great for all sports. I don't think me and Steph -- when you talk about rivalries, you talk about [North] Carolina-Duke, you talk about Ohio State-Michigan. It's hard to say LeBron and Steph. [Maybe] if there's a smaller scale or another word for a rival.
"The fact that we're going back-to-back I think is pretty unique. It's pretty unique to be in this position and just to have another opportunity, another opportunity for guys to write about, for us to play it, for the people to talk about it throughout the world. I'm blessed that I can be a part of [those] conversations."