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November 02, 2015

LeBron James talks Sixers, compares rebuilding to oatmeal

There will be no refund necessary this time around. The King and his Cleveland Cavaliers are in town, and in a change from recent meetings, LeBron James will take the court against the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday.

Being the otherworldly talent that he is, it didn’t take James too long to ascend to the top of the Eastern Conference a decade ago. Still, there were some growing pains. The Cavs didn’t make the playoffs in James’ first two seasons, including a 35-47 record when he was a rookie.

So while he doesn’t quite know what it feels like to play for a team as shorthanded as the current Sixers, James understands the role someone like Jahlil Okafor finds himself in.

“My only mindset was trying to figure out how to make a name for myself and play the right way,” James told reporters at shootaround today. “Obviously, him coming from a national championship program and me coming from a national championship high school program, you’re not accustomed to losing.”

“That can become a struggle because you want to win but at the same time you have to understand there is a process and your time will come.”

Overall, James also offered some fairly encouraging sentiments for the Sixers’ rebuild. LeBron might not necessarily trust the process, but he at least recognizes it.

“It’s all a process,” James told reporters. “Everyone wants instant oatmeal, but it’s always a process. You got to put the time in, you got to build things from the ground up, and if they’re serious about making a change, then it’ll happen. Hopefully it’ll happen when I’m done, though.”

Instant oatmeal, yuck. That last line should also serve as a dose of reality for the last few Sixers fans holding out hope of James playing in Philly at any point in his career.

James mentioned his successful high school program, and he won’t be the only former St. Vincent-St. Mary player taking the floor tonight. One of the guys who will be guarding him is fellow Akron native JaKarr Sampson. They are the only two SVSM products currently playing in the league.

Of course, the undrafted Sampson took a different path than James did to make it to the NBA. At the complete opposite end of the spectrum from James, Sampson is still trying to carve out a niche for himself.

“To see him being so successful right now, seeing the path he had to take here where he’s continuing to work on his game, it’s always [good],” James said.

Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann