LeBron's Hall of Fame lessons

Although he's grown to the point of being open to asking for help, his overall philosophy hasn't changed much.

"Even though I've got so many great words from Isiah and Jerry West, you can only live in your own life and on your own path and make your own course, and I've been fortunate enough to do that," James said.

But the confidence level he's developed over the three years since he took the advice is unmistakable.

"In terms of being a leader and being a great teammate, he's knocked the cover off the ball," Thomas said.

"I play for my teammates, our team, the city of Miami, my friends and family, and I gave it all for that," James said. "At the end of the day, win, lose or draw, I'm satisfied with that. I don't get involved in what people say about me and my legacy, I think it's actually kind of stupid."

That's an oversimplification and a bit of a defense mechanism. James does care about his legacy. He just doesn't let the times when he hasn't delivered dominate his life like he let them three years ago, or like West and Thomas let them at times in their careers.

If James hasn't already, he will be passing along some of the wisdom shared with him during those tough days. He said he was planning to save some of it for a book that he wants to write at the end of his career.

In the meantime, though, the numbers remain in James' phone in the event they're needed again. And West and Thomas quietly appreciate that they were able to help a future Hall of Famer when he came calling.

"My friend Pat Riley calls [LeBron] the B.O.A.T., the 'best of all time,'" West said. "I told Pat, 'You better call him the boat, because he carries a whole bunch of people across the sea to promised land.'"

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