The NBA season has been suspended for over two weeks with no timeline to resume and LeBron James made it clear that all of the downtime and rest is not beneficial for him.
"The narrative that I don't like is now guys get so much rest," James said on the Road Trippin' Podcast on Thursday. "Or LeBron, he's 35, he has so many minutes on his body, now he gets so much rest. It's actually the opposite for me because my body, when we stopped playing, was asking me, 'What the hell are you doing?'"
James said the hiatus, which NBA commissioner Adam Silver initiated on March 11 in an attempt to help stop the spread of COVID-19, has left his body and mind a bit out of sorts.
"My body was like, 'Hey man, what the hell is going on? It's March 13th, you're getting ready for the playoffs, why are you shutting down right now?'" James said. "And I was right there turning the corner. I felt like I was rounding third base, getting ready for the postseason. The rest factor is overly blown, especially when you're in the full swing of things."
James was having an MVP-caliber season while leading the Lakers to the best record in the Western Conference at 49-14 before sports came to a screeching halt.
Since then, everyone has been thrust into a new world filled with stay-at-home orders and social distancing.
"I ain't high-fiving nobody for the rest of my life after this s---," James said. "No more high-fiving. After this corona s---? Wait 'til y'all see me and my teammates' handshakes after this s---."
James, a three-time NBA champion and four-time MVP, spoke for 52 minutes alongside former Cleveland Cavaliers teammates Richard Jefferson and Channing Frye and Spectrum SportsNet analyst Allie Clifton about a wide-ranging variety of topics on the podcast.
He addressed what it would take for teams to resume play if the suspension gets lifted.
"One thing you can't just do is go straight to the playoffs," James said. "Because it discredits the 60-plus games that guys had fighting for that position."
James offered a suggestion for a blueprint.
"I think maybe one and a half, two weeks of a little mini training camp, and then maybe five to 10 games to get ready for the playoffs," James said. "If we're talking about just finishing the regular season, then you don't need that much. You could do a week of training camp and then get back into it."
James added that he still thinks it would be incredibly weird to potentially play without fans down the line.
"What is the word 'sport' without 'fan'?" James said. "There's no excitement. There's no crying. There's no joy. There's no back-and-forth. There's no rhyme or reason that you want to go on the road and just dethrone the home team because of their fans and vice versa.
"That's what also brings out the competitive side of the players to know that you're going on the road in a hostile environment and yes, you're playing against that opponent in front of you, but you really want to kick the fans' ass too."
The Lakers have been under a 14-day quarantine after two players tested positive for the virus last week. James said he and his Lakers teammates have been staying in constant contact during this time.
"We got a text chain between all the guys on the team," James said. "And we just stay in touch every day, pretty much. Random s---. It could be something that's on the internet, guys send a clip."
James has been spending a lot of time with his family and working out at least once a day on his own. He plans to start working out with his trainer, Mike Mancias, starting Monday.
James, who lives in a home in Brentwood, Los Angeles, said he knows he's in a privileged situation during the state-wide stay-at-home order.
"I would feel so weird if I was like, 'Hey guys, stay at home,'" James said. "And somebody would look at me and be like, 'Well, I mean, it's easy for you to say.' You know, 'It's easy for you to say.' But I just go back to my childhood and how I grew up with me and my mom, that s--- would have been hell. I feel like my mom would have been like, 'I don't give a f--- about corona. You better get your ass out of my house. Get the f--- out, you're getting on my nerves.' ... She'd say, 'If your ass get sick you better not bring your ass home.'"
Apparently, James hasn't felt the need to say that to his own three children as of yet.
In fact, James, who is in his 17th season in the league, said the silver lining of the NBA's hiatus is spending quality time with his family, especially considering how much time he has to be on the road and how all-consuming chasing a championship can be.
"Sometimes your family gets left behind, unfortunately," James said. "This opportunity, this moment right here, has put a lot of things in perspective, not only perspective, because I've got things in perspective. But it's given me an opportunity to take advantage of being with my kids everyday because they don't have school, being with my wife all the time."
James has been doing TikTok dances with his children and recently did a nearly hour-long Instagram Live video in which he drank wine, played cards with his family and answered fans' questions. This week he plans on doing a virtual Instagram Live pool party with a DJ.
James said he and his family are trying to make the best of the situation and keep their spirits high.
"Just trying to keep my brain wrapped around what's actually going on," James said. It's been very challenging, for sure."