LeBron James won't stay off social media during the upcoming NBA playoffs.
After spending several seasons following a self-imposed social media blackout for the postseason – dubbed by James himself as "Zero Dark Thirty-23" – the Los Angeles Lakers star said Tuesday there's too much going on in the world to disengage while his team vies for a championship in the Orlando, Florida, bubble. He cited family connection and "the uncertainty of what 2020 has brought."
"It's definitely going to have a different mindset, different feel to it," James told reporters on a video conference call. "I won't be turning my phone off during this run. I can't afford to. I have to continue to check in with my family every single day. ... I can't afford to do that, just lose direct contact with everybody."
"I'll be as locked in as I can be under the circumstances. I won't cheat my teammates, I won't cheat our fans and I won't cheat myself. I'll be ready to go."
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James said his mother, Gloria, will often check in on him, while his wife, Savannah, and kids – Bronny, Bryce and Zhuri – are active on social media, posting funny videos of family time when James is away.
In past playoff runs with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Miami Heat, James would back off his social media from April to June while he stayed focused on the playoff run. However, in those circumstances, he was able to fly home and spend time with his family. Should Los Angeles reach the NBA Finals this year, James could be looking at a 3½-month period away from them.
The Lakers' season resumes at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex. They have the top record in the Western Conference at 49-14
When James left his family to head to the Lakers' practices in early July, he tweeted that he hated to leave his family, so much so that he felt like he was "heading to do a bid."
"The communication can always be consistent and the leadership can always be consistent, and that's one thing I've always had control over," James said Tuesday. "But you can't replicate actual presence when you're waking up and you're in the living room or you're in the kitchen, or you're outside playing with your kids or playing with your daughter, playing video games with your boys or working out with your boys. You can't replicate that. I'm not there.
"But Savannah is a beast at what she does: That's controlling the home and being that rock for our family. So I'm not worried about that. But you definitely, you have that miss factor when you miss your family, you miss your kids and things of that nature. But I thank Steve Jobs a lot and the team at Apple for having FaceTime, because that is a beautiful thing to have, especially during a time like this."