LeBron James ‘Was Nervous As F–K’ Before Playoff Debut, Didn’t Want to S–t the Bed

NEW ORLEANS, LA - APRIL 16: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers looks on during the game against the New Orleans Pelicans during the 2024 Play-In Tournament on April 16, 2024 at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2024 NBAE (Photo by Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images)

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Two decades into his NBA career, LeBron James has accomplished everything there is to on a basketball floor.

That said, there was once a time when he was an NBA neophyte playing in his first postseason game.

The Los Angeles Lakers star recalled his feelings surrounding his first playoff experience during the latest episode of his Mind the Game podcast with J.J. Redick.

“I was nervous as f–k. That’s what I remember,” James said (10:20 mark). “This was third year. …

First year, I established myself. Second year, we missed the playoffs by maybe one or two games, and it’s like, ‘Okay, I’m here to play ball, but I want to make the next step

. I got to get this franchise to the postseason.’ In my third year, we finally made the postseason, and our first game was against Washington at home. I was nervous as hell.

“My stomach was hurting all goddamn long, all day. Literally until the jump ball. … I didn’t want to f–kin’ lay an egg. …

I was 20 years old, got the team to the postseason, I don’t want to go out there and s–t the bed.”

James had 32 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists while playing all 48 minutes in his playoff debut, a 97-86 Cavaliers win over the Washington Wizards.

He would lead Cleveland to the second round before being eliminated in seven games by the Detroit Pistons.

A year later, James hoisted the young Cavs on his back to reach his first NBA Finals, where Cleveland was swept by a veteran-laden San Antonio Spurs team.

Four rings and 10 total Finals appearances later, it’s safe to say James got the hang of the whole playoffs thing.

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