Before the Cleveland Cavaliers met the Golden Star Warriors in Game 1 of the NBA Finals last week, LeBron James gathered his teammates for a meeting that was part pump-up speech, part low-key team-building and part Apple Watch giveaway.
Northeast Ohio Media Group’s Chris Haynes has the scoop: before Thursday’s Game 1, which the Warriors won in overtime, James rented out a lounge at the Cavs’ team hotel, the Four Seasons in downtown San Francisco. He gathered the team and gave a pump-up speech about obstacles, facing adversity and whatnot. Awfully prescient stuff, especially considering Kyrie Irving eventually fractured his kneecap in Game 1.
Then came part one of the good stuff, Haynes reports:
When James concluded his address, he shifted the tone of the meeting to a looser, more casual setting. He arranged for food, music was blasting and he even brought in a barber for players to get haircuts.
The team relaxed and talked about family, the news and just life in general. This was his way of easing any pre-Finals tension they might have had.
"It was for unity. Building camaraderie with the guys," J.R. Smith explained to NEOMG. "A lot of times when you go into the hotels, you might see a guy for breakfast or a meeting and that would be it. He brought us out and we talked about regular, everyday stuff instead of just the Finals."
Part two? The Apple Watches.
But before they went their separate ways that night of the meeting, James had another surprise. He gave them all brand new Apple watches.
It was another way of displaying his appreciation for his guys.
"I've been fortunate enough to work with some great partners and whatever I get, I like to share with my teammates," James told NEOMG. "It's just my way of showing them that I care. That's it. It's not the first time and it won't be the last time."
A terrific gesture by James. Now we’ll see if the Cavs pay him back on the court.
- Mike Fiammetta