LeBron James and the Lakers don’t have much to play for these days, so they played for pride in Sunday’s 111-106 win over the Sacramento Kings.

“I would never cheat myself,” James told Spectrum SportsNet in his on-court interview, after recording his eighth triple-double of the season (and 81st of his career) with 29 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists. “I know we’re out the playoff race, but if I’m on the court, I’m going to play how I play, and I play to win. So, I will never cheat the game.

“There’s such a thing called ‘game gods.’ And they’re watching no matter what you’re doing, and it’s our obligation to go out and be a professional, and that’s what I’m about.”

After the contest, James talked more about his approach for the 32-41 Lakers, who snapped a five-game losing streak.

“When I’m on the floor, I’ve got to play the game no matter what our circumstances is, no matter how many minutes I’m out on the floor, through the basketball gods, I’ve always respected the basketball gods,” he said. “If I’m on the floor, I’ve got to try to play as hard as I can or do something to affect the game and not cheat the game. So, if I’m on the floor, if I’m in uniform, then I’ve got to try to make things happen.

“Not saying I’m going to make every shot, not saying I’m going to make every play or not have any turnovers. But just try to make an impact on the game and, like I said, I was on the floor tonight, and I was able to make a couple plays to help make our team win.”

James, who is on the first year of a four-year, $153.3 million deal with the Lakers, acknowledged his place in the game.

“Man, that’s just my love of the game. I owe it to myself, and obviously with the fans continuing to show up, they know we’re not making the playoffs; by me owing it to myself, it automatically gives to our fans when I’m out on the floor,” he said. “So, just appreciate them continuing to show up. I owe it to myself. As long I’m going to play this game, I’ve got to stay true to it.”

He echoed an Instagram post from his account on Sunday morning when he made a direct appeal to Lakers fans.


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He was asked if respecting the basketball gods will affect how much he plays in the final nine games of the season, which includes two sets of back-to-backs on the Lakers’ schedule.

“It doesn’t factor into that; it factors in when I’m on the floor,” James said. “I’ve got to continue to see how my body feels when I’m on the floor. Like I said, I didn’t feel great today, but I felt good enough to go out there, and I just trusted myself and trusted my decision.”

This ‘Game Gods’ thing is a little childish, no? 

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