Commentators from all over the basketball-loving world have described LeBron James’s run through the NBA Finals—his fifth consecutive one, after a historic four-in-a-row with the Miami Heat—as something out of this world. The star player and entrepreneur, eager to bring a trophy to his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers, carried what many considered an under qualified team through six breakneck games against the Golden State Warriors and averaged 45.7 minutes per game (leaving him with only about three minutes of rest in each game). Unfortunately for him, it wasn’t enough, and the Warriors won the championship in Game 6, 105-97. During a post-game interview, which saw James with a fedora covering his down turned face, the forward was candid about the pain that this loss caused him:
When you fall short, it hurts and it eats at you, and it hurts me to know that I wish I could have done better and done more and just put a little bit more effort or whatever the case may be to help us get over the hump. But it just wasn’t our time.
When asked about whether or not he was satisfied with the immense training regimen for the finals, he struck a similarly morose, if retrospectively grateful, tone:
Well, of course you question it, especially when you get to this point. I always look at it would I rather not make the playoffs or lose in The Finals? I don’t know. I don’t know. I’ve missed the playoffs twice. I lost in The Finals four times. I’m almost starting to be like I’d rather not even make the playoffs than to lose in The Finals. It would hurt a lot easier if I just didn’t make the playoffs and I didn’t have a shot at it. But then I lock back in and I start thinking about how fun it is to compete during the playoffs and the first round, the second round, and Eastern Conference Finals. If I’m lucky enough to get here again, it will be fun to do it.
It remains to be seen what will happen to LeBron and the Cavs, who were hit hard by losing All-Stars Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love to injuries. (h/t ASAP Sports, which has the full transcript of the James interview; and Business Insider)