MIAMI — LeBron James wants to one day be the best to have played in the NBA. If he gets there, will he be wearing a Miami Heat jersey?
The Heat star can opt out of his contract and become a free agent after the season. James said at media day Monday he doesn’t plan to talk about the subject during the season. But the 11-year veteran didn’t hold back on how he eventually wants to be remembered.
“I want to be the greatest of all time and that’s my motivation,” James said. “It’s that simple. … I’m far away from it (now), but I see the light.”
James has won the past two MVP awards and four of the last five. He can become a free agent July 1, and that subject will be the talk of the NBA for the next nine months.
But the talk won’t be coming from James.
“I think for me being the leader of this team, I owe it to this organization and my teammates to really not get involved and not talk about it,” James said. “I understand you guys (the media) have to ask the question. You guys are doing your job. But I’m not going to address it. Once we get to that point, then I’ll address it. But I don’t think it’s appropriate to talk about it right now. My concern is putting us our team in position to win another championship and that’s my only goal, my only mind frame right now.”
During his media session, James, though, talked about plenty else. And, with two straight titles already under his belt, he cracked several jokes.
On his recent marriage, James said, “I got three rings now.”
James laughed about the prediction he, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh made about winning multiple titles when they joined forces in the summer of 2010.
“I haven’t accomplished it, not yet,” James said if he’s done what he intended to do so far in Miami. “Not until I win not 11, not 12, not 13, not 14. Until I win that, then I’ll be able to accomplish my feat. That will the front damn page right there: ‘LeBron at 50 guarantees championship.'”
James, though, did turn serious when he talked about how he wants to be the greatest ever. He wasn’t too specific about what he worked on during the summer but said he’s an improved player.
“I know you guys get tired of me saying this, but I got better,” James said. “You guys looked at me crazy when I said it last year. … I’m a better basketball player than I was last year in every aspect. I feel very confident and comfortable in my game right now.”
James did work on his free-throw shooting. James, who shot 75.3 percent last season and is a career 74.7 percent marksman, said 80 percent is his goal this season.
James is entering his fourth season with the Heat. He said he has no regrets about leaving Cleveland after he became a free agent in 2010.
“I don’t need to vindicate my decision to come here,” he said. “I know I made the right decision when I said it.”
Now, though, everybody awaits what James will do next summer. There’s also anticipation of what Wade and Bosh, who also can opt out of their contracts, will do.
Wade, who is noncommittal on his status, has battled knee problems in each of the past two seasons. He let it be known his health shouldn’t have anything to do with what James does.
“LeBron James’ decision is LeBron James’ decision whether I’m healthy or not,” Wade said. “Don’t try to put that pressure on me.”
James, meanwhile, isn’t worried about putting pressure on himself to be the greatest ever. As for any pressure to talk about his likely free agency, James isn’t going there.