LeBron James is sounding a lot like Heat coach Erik Spoelstra these days, and NBA insiders familiar with the Heat’s locker-room culture have been taking notice.
James and the Cleveland Cavaliers dropped below .500 on Tuesday with a loss to the Portland Trail Blazers, and afterwards James began reeling off a list of classic Spoelstra catchphrases and go-to nuggets of wisdom about team development. The unique and repetitive jargon or “coach speak” — known as “Spoisms” — has become one of Spoelstra’s most endearing trademarks.
“It's going to be a process,” James said at Portland’s Moda Center after the loss to the Trail Blazers. “I keep on harping on that word, but it's the truth. I've been there before and understand it. But you do have to go through it even though you don't like to go through it."
Or, as Spoelstra might say, the Cavaliers just need to “respect the process,” and avoid listening to “outside noise” because those distractions are just “someone else’s truth.”
James scored just 11 points in Portland, including two points over the final three quarters of the game. He never scored 11 or fewer points in a regular-season game with the Heat and the last time he has scored just two points over a three-quarter stretch was his rookie year, according to ESPN.
While James only attempted four shots in the second half, teammates Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters combined to go 6 of 29 from the field for the game.
"There's a lot of bad habits — a lot of bad habits have been built up over the last couple of years, and when you play that style of basketball it takes a lot to get it up out of you," James said. "But I'm here to help and that's what it's about."
Irving and Waiters might just need to “sacrifice” more for the team, as Spoelstra is inclined to repeat … ad nauseam.
"Everyone wants to win, I would hope," James said. "Would you rather play selfish basketball and lose, or play unselfish basketball and sacrifice and win? So you pick it."