With James, as most basketball fans know, scoring is just part of the story.
He’s 10th among active players in assists. James enters the season with three more assists than San Antonio’s Tony Parker — a point guard who has played 117 more games than James. And James’ average combined points, assists and rebounds per game (41.7) is considerably ahead of the No. 2 active player on that list, that being Heat teammate Dwyane Wade (36.4).
‘‘LeBron is very talented on the court and he’s probably the best player in the NBA,’’ Heat forward Rashard Lewis said. ‘‘But I don’t think people know his personable side. He’s a great guy, loves his teammates, is very sharing, is always bringing gifts into the locker room for his teammates. He’s a funny guy, a class clown, but when he steps on the court he’s all about the game.’’
And he insists nothing has changed in that respect.
The Heat are generally considered favorites to win another title this season, though the external expectation does little to faze James. At this point, he knows championships will define whether it was a good year or not, much as it was for the stars before him like Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, some of the few on whom the spotlight has shone brightest.
‘‘The target, that doesn’t change for me,’’ James said. ‘‘I've had a target, champion or not champion, since probably ‘05. And now that we've won one, the target, it’s no different for me.’’