LeBron James admits that he doubted the Cavs earlier in the season

2018 NBA Finals - Media Day

Based on how badly the Cleveland Cavaliers were playing earlier in the season, it’s incredible that they’re in the NBA Finals.

At one point, they were struggling so mightily that some questioned if they’d even make the playoffs.

While much of the team was overhauled on the day of the trade deadline, the common denominator is LeBron James, who has singlehandedly guided his club to their fourth-straight matchup against the Golden State Warriors.

In an interview with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols on Wednesday, James opened up about a few topics, including his mindset during the squad’s early struggles.

Since LeBron generally appears calm and collected in his interactions with the media, he surprisingly admitted that he was starting to have doubts.

"Even if you start back to the summertime where I felt like it was just bad for our franchise just to be able to trade away our superstar point guard," James said. "A guy that I had been in so many battles with over the last three years and obviously I wasn't a part of the communications and know exactly what went on between the two sides. But I just felt like it was bad timing for our team."

"So I felt like the odds were against us from the summer," he continued. "And then you know we come into the season and our All-Star point guard that we got from Boston [Isaiah Thomas] wasn't able to play until January. We just had so many things going with our team. We shuffled in different lineups, we shuffled in different players, we made a trade at the deadline, and I can't sit here right now and say that the Finals was a part of my thinking.”

External motivation

Hearing all of the negative words around the NBA community and (probably) on social media led the superstar to step up his game.

"It was at points where, 'OK, will the Cavs even make the playoffs?' " James told Nichols. "And I was like, 'OK, I am not settling for that conversation -- now that is just ridiculous. Now I have got to get into the postseason.’"

"I was like, 'OK, I am not quite sure what we are going to do with this ball club; we are not playing good basketball,' but you can't sell yourself short," James added. "You have so many people looking up to you, you have so many kids to inspire and you, yourself, you have always talked about be as great as you can be every day, so I kind of hit that switch before the trade deadline.”

Since James is one of the most team-oriented players in league history, as proven by the fact that he publicly thanked his teammates after the Eastern Conference Finals, it was a bit surprising to hear him express some doubt for once, even if it was rooted in the past.

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