LeBron James remains optimistic about a return to the NBA Finals, as he looks to reach the pinnacle for a ninth straight season.
His move to the Los Angeles Lakers - and thus, a Western Conference dominated by the Golden State Warriors - puts that streak at risk, but James said he didn't factor that into his decision to go from Cleveland to L.A. this summer.
"Nah, that was never a thought," James told Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. "I don't really buy into (defeat). I feel like with me on the floor, I can compete versus anybody individually. But at the end of the day, in order to win, your teams have to be great. Individuals are very great, but in order to win a championship, you have to have great teams."
James won't wear the Eastern Conference crown for the first time since 2010, which has many already discussing the state of the conference now that the King has traveled west.
"I would never get into (an East-West) conversation like that," James said. "'Oh, he's competitive in the East, but (the West is different).' I'm well-respected by my peers and that's all that matters. I'm going to be as patient as I can be. I know I got a young squad, but these guys are willing to learn and I'm willing to learn with them."
The 33-year-old appreciates the magnitude of his move and the possible end of his impressive streak, but he understands nothing lasts forever.
"(The Finals streak) means a lot," he said. "To have a streak of anything is significant. Games played, threes made, Finals appearances. These are things that you can always talk about when you get older and are done with the game, but at the end of the day, they all come to an end."
James will make his regular-season debut with the Lakers on Oct. 18 against the Portland Trail Blazers.