Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

LeBron James tells Philippines he’s not done yet

This appears in the Wednesday, July 24, 2013 edition of the Business Mirror.

LeBron James tells Philippines he’s not done yet
by rick olivares

Barely two months after a grueling seven-game NBA finals against the San Antonio Spurs, it was a visibly tired yet game LeBron James who met members of the Philippine and international media during a press conference held at the Shangri-La Manila Ballroom yesterday.

James, the two-time NBA champion with the Miami Heat, flew on a private jet chartered by Nike. He arrived Monday afternoon for a one-day visit to this basketball mad republic. Aside from the press conference, James graced a basketball skills session with college athletes from Ateneo, FEU, and La Salle among others at the Mall of Asia Arena.

His arrival triggered a fan mania unseen yet in these shores. Thousands of fans stood in line for as much as 48-hours at the Nike Park at Bonifacio High Street to acquire two tickets to see James.

The 6’8” James, who is rapidly adding to what is already an impressive basketball resume, said that he heard about the Philippines from his Fil-American head coach Erik Spoelstra. “It’s a great pleasure to be here,” said James. “He (Spoelstra) said that basketball here is huge and the fans are very passionate.”

The four-time NBA Most Valuable Player described the back-to-back championships as “emotionally draining.”

“A playoff game is five times more difficult than a regular season game,” bared James. “The emotions ran high and low through both series (against the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Spurs). My first series last year against OKC, we lost Game 1 so my emotions were very low at that time. But I kept my cool and we won four straight and I showed my emotions after the game. This year, I was on the floor the whole time against a great San Antonio team. And they really pushed us. It was basically a sigh of relief that we were able to accomplish that goal.”

James also said that he isn’t done yet with winning. “I am 28 years old and have been in the league for 10 years. And I have a lot more that I want to accomplish. The word ‘legacy’ is always difficult. When I hang up my jersey, my resume, my game speaks for itself.”

He also added that he learned to play the game the right way as a youngster. “My little league coach Frank Walker taught me to play the game the right way. That no matter how good one individual one is it takes a team to win a championship. He laid the DNA of how to play the right game of basketball in me. You never think about that. You never understand that the game is bigger than it is. So my whole dream was to get better each and every day and I had a dream about wanting to play in the NBA.”

And LeBron James did get better. He is one of nine players to win a Most Valuable Player Award in the regular season and in the Finals (Willis Reed, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Moses Malone, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Hakeem Olajuwon, Shaquille O'Neal, and Tim Duncan are the two other ones).

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