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LeBron James has no outside motivation to beat Warriors this time, only a narrative

By Joe Vardon • Jun 1, 2017 at 3:30 PM

OAKLAND, Calif. — On the eve of his seventh consecutive Finals, LeBron James said there was no outside factor motivating him to beat the Golden State Warriors this season.

"My motivation is to be great," James told cleveland.com. "My motivation is to be great, put my teammates in a position where they can compete for a championship, live out dreams. I'm self motivated, so, there's no extra nothing with this one."

Last year, James and the Cavaliers were playing to win the first title in franchise history and first for any major pro sports team in Cleveland since 1964. Additionally, James was playing to prove wrong the high-ranking Miami Heat official who told him returning home to the Cavaliers was a mistake.

The Cavs, of course, became the first team in NBA history to recover from a 3-1 deficit in the Finals and beat the Warriors. James was named Finals MVP after becoming the first player ever to lead both teams in the Finals in points (29.7 per game), rebounds (11.3), assists (8.9), steals (2.57) and blocks (2.29).

Ahead of Game 7 last year, James told cleveland.com he wanted to win for northeast Ohio because of the bond people share over sports. And after they won he revealed his personal motivation as related to Miami to ESPN.

So James was practicing a little revisionist history Wednesday when he said to cleveland.com that "there was no extra one with last year, either, that was just the narrative." Also, he was asked during his group session with reporters if he still tries to prove doubters wrong -- the Warriors are heavily favored in the series -- and he said "no, I'm not in that department anymore.

"I left that in the 20s," James said referring to his age. He's 32 now. "I'm not in the 'prove people wrong, silence critics' people department no more. I got a promotion when I got to the 30s."

During the Cavaliers' second-round sweep of the Toronto Raptors, James told cleveland.com he had nothing left to prove in pro basketball.

James is now the NBA's all-time leading scorer in the playoffs and needs just five more points to become the league's first 6,000-points scorer in the postseason. He needs just two 3s to pass Reggie Miller (320) for the second most in playoff history.

James is enjoying arguably the finest postseason of his career, averaging 32.5 points and shooting .566 from the field. He's scored 30 or more points in 11 of Cleveland's 13 playoff games. The Cavs are 12-1.

Asked if there was a "narrative" -- his word -- for the 2017 Finals, and he said "yeah, win championships.

"That's always the narrative," he said. "That's my personal goal and I'm in a position to do it again."

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