LeBron James said that leading this season's Cleveland Cavaliers and teaching them how to win on a championship level is the biggest challenge of his career, according to a report from ESPN's Chris Broussard.
The Cavaliers are 5-4 this season and have won four of their last five games. James, 29, is averaging 27.1 points, 6.7 rebounds and 6.6 assists while shooting 48.6 percent from the field and 40.5 percent from three-point range.
Cleveland opened Wednesday ranked second in the league in offensive efficiency but 26th in defensive efficiency.
"This is more challenging than me trying to win my first championship," James told ESPN.com on Wednesday. "Because that was a personal goal of mine. Doing this was never a goal until I decided to come back to Cleveland." [...]"I've taken on the burden of leading young guys," James said, "getting them to understand what it takes to win. And it takes more than just basketball. It's about being a professional, not having a sense of entitlement, being grateful that you're a part of this league. Those things have a lot to do with winning."It's going to take a while. When you're losing, you pick up a lot of bad habits. When you walk into the building every night and don't even expect to win, that wears on you, and it takes a while to break it."
James spent the first seven seasons of his career in Cleveland after being selected first overall in the 2003 NBA draft. He left the Cavaliers for Miami in 2010 to form the so-called "Big Three" with Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade.
James failed to win a championship during his first stint in Cleveland but won two titles and went to four consecutive Finals with Miami.
The four-time MVP announced in an essay published on SI.com this summer that he would return to Cleveland. After landing James, the Cavaliers further upgraded their roster by trading for All-Star power forward Kevin Love and adding versatile defender Shawn Marion.
Cleveland hosts the reigning champion Spurs on Wednesday night.
- Chris Johnson