LeBron James says his achievements in basketball will not define his legacy as he closes in on a fourth NBA title.
James’ Los Angeles Lakers lead Miami Heat 3-1 in the best-of-seven NBA final going into Friday’s fifth game, which takes place at 02:00 BST on Saturday.
A win would add to the two titles he won with Miami Heat and his single success with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
“The story will be told how it’s supposed to be told and written how it’s meant to be written,” said James.
The 35-year-old added: “I don’t live my life thinking about legacy.
“What I do off the floor means more to me than what I do on the floor.
James has been involved in offering support to less fortunate sectors of society throughout his career and has also used his voice to highlight controversial issues, such as the shooting of African-American woman Breonna Taylor by police officers in March.
This week he saw his image adorn the front of cereal boxes in the US alongside pictures of children from the school he founded two years ago. The two-time Olympic gold medallist said such moments are among “the best of my life”.
“The game of basketball will pass me by,” the American added. “How I move, walk, what I preached and talk about, and how I inspire the next generation is what matters to me the most. If you appreciate my game – cool, if you didn’t, then that’s cool too.”
‘A legend’s uniform’
If James helps the Lakers to the NBA title it will be their first since 2010, when the late Kobe Bryant led the team to success.
Bryant won five championships with the Lakers but was one of nine people killed in a helicopter crash in January.
On Friday the Lakers will switch their traditional gold colours and compete in ‘Black Mamba’ jerseys – a strip named after the nickname Bryant made so well known.
The Lakers have won all four play-off matches they have contested when wearing the strip, which was co-designed by Bryant and released in 2017.
“It has the snake mamba print on it and it means something, something more than just a uniform,” added James.
“It represents an individual who gave the franchise 20 years of blood, sweat, tears and dedication on and off the court to make the franchise proud of him. I think it’s just pretty cool when you’re wearing a uniform that a legend had his hands on.