NBA: James says title showdown will have no bearing on his overall career legacy

Cleveland Cavaliers player LeBron James speaks to the media during their NBA Finals practice and media availability at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California, USA on June 18, 2016.
Cleveland Cavaliers player LeBron James speaks to the media during their NBA Finals practice and media availability at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California, USA on June 18, 2016. PHOTO: EPA

AFP - LeBron James says his career legacy will not be defined by the results of Game 7, the winner-take-all NBA title showdown, maturity having taught him to accept the things he cannot control.

Four-time NBA Most Valuable Player James will lead Cleveland against defending champions Golden State after back-to-back 41-point performances as the Cavaliers won twice in a row to level the best-of-seven NBA Finals at 3-3.

"I look forward to the challenge. It's a Game 7. But I don't put too much more added pressure on it," James said on Saturday.

"I'm going to give everything I've got to my team-mates and my coaching staff and I live with the results.

"It has not always been that way for me, but I think it's just from my growth. I have matured over the years and I know what's real and what's not real."

James, in his sixth consecutive NBA Finals and seventh overall, is 2-4 so far, both wins coming with Miami in 2011 and 2012 while he lost twice with the Heat and with Cleveland in 2007 and last year.

He could become the first NBA MVP to lose five finals, but when asked if it would define his legacy, he simply replied, "No."

"I still go back on some of the losses I've had in my career, not only in just the finals, but even in the post-season, period," James said.

"It's like, 'OK, did you give everything that you had? Did you prepare yourself the best way you could have? Did you leave it all on the floor?'

"And if you can tell yourself and look in the mirror and say, 'Yes,' then sometimes there are some things you can't control. You can control what you can control. And the uncontrollable, you can't allow that to play with you that much."

James dismissed talk that he might become only the second player to be named the NBA Finals MVP even if the Cavaliers lost, keeping a philosophical attitude about defeat and staying in the moment, even one as exciting as the approaching contest he compared to an NFL Super Bowl.

"To have an opportunity to have one game for it all? You take it. It's an opportunity, and it's going to be fun. I'm happy to be able to be a part of it."