"If I'm injured, I don't play. If not, I play," James told ESPN as he hit the wooden facade of his locker after the 95-80 Lakers victory over the Miami Heat on Friday night. "That It has always been my motto. "
Cargo management is a hot topic in the NBA after its Staples Center neighbor Kawhi Leonard of the LA Clippers was not in a nationally televised game on Wednesday for the second consecutive week.
James, six years older than Leonard and who leaves the first major injury of his 17-year career last season when he suffered a groin break, remains committed to adapting whenever possible.
Both games that Leonard did not participate were straight matches.
James did not want to address how his plan differs from Leonard's, who was determined by the league to have a legitimate reason to stay out while continuing to handle a continuous kneecap tendon injury in his left knee.
“LeBron is healthy, LeBron will play. That's all I'll talk about, "James said." I'm not talking about anyone but me. "
James had 25 points in 10 of 19 shots, which included a 4 of 7 from a triple range, with six assists and four rebounds in Friday's victory. The Lakers, with a 7-1 start thanks in large part to James's influence, are scheduled for their first consecutive game next week.
"Are there games in a row Tuesday and Wednesday? Phoenix, (then) back home against Golden State? I'll be ready," James said. "What do you mean by‘ how am I going to handle it? "
There has been an internal discussion within the Lakers between coaches and physical trainers on how to find time to rest with James, the sources told ESPN. But James, who turns 35 next month, is reluctant to accept it.
"Talk to my trainers," James said. "You know how many times T-Lue and I talked in Cleveland when I wanted to sit down and I wanted to play."
"I'm healthy, I play. I'm probably 45 years old to not play basketball."
Lakers coach Frank Vogel, who accepted the job after negotiations with Lue failed this summer, said the team plans to protect James from overwork "in any way we can."
"Whether there are days off in practice or your minutes are minimized, your load is minimized," Vogel said after Thursday's practice. "There are some things integrated into the scheme that require me to do: get some guys to rest at certain times. In every way we can."
Friday's victory earned James and the rest of his team rest in Saturday's scheduled practice, that's a way to save time.
And the victory provided a platform to explain the "washed king" hashtag that James adopted on social media, as he leaned toward those who doubted his place in the game this season.
"It's just my personal motivation," James said. "I am more motivated to put myself in the position where I know I belong. Therefore, it is my personal motivation every night that I stepped on the floor to be great. I know the summer I had. I know the rehabilitation I had with my groin."
James filmed "Space Jam 2" this summer to explain his commitment to the Lakers.
“I filmed 'Space Jam' for three months throughout the summer. My schedule every morning was at 6:30 in the morning and I was at the gym at 3:30, four in the morning before filming 12, 13, 14 hours, "James said." Then, I know how much I put in My job, I know what is the main thing. Even when I was filming the movie, I know what was most important. And that is that I am preparing for the fall, and I always had that in the front of my mind. So it is only my personal pressure that I am exerting on myself. I mean, I don't really believe in pressure much, but I believe in myself and I know what I am capable of. ”
James was then asked how much of his motivation was taken directly from others using the term "wash" to describe him in his thirties.
"Well, I don't know, man," James said. "Find me in the dry cleaner."