One-on-One with The King: Interviewing LeBron James

Migs Bustos on Sep 03, 2017 06:21 PM
One-on-One with The King: Interviewing LeBron James
Migs Bustos managed to chat with three-time NBA champion and four-time MVP LeBron James during his third trip to Manila.

It took more than a week’s preparation for this momentous event: Lebron James in Manila. That’s always a big thing. Even though this is the third time that The King visited Manila, it always feels like it’s the first.

Coming into the big day, the office has been in close contact with Nike Basketball PR agency, Larc and Asset. There would be daily updates on LeBron’s itinerary and made sure that we would comply. Of course we would. We didn’t want to mess things up, especially when the King of the NBA’s Eastern Conference arrives).

Finally, the day had come. September 2, 2017, Saturday, Kerry Sports Manila in Shangri-La The Fort.

Since it was my first time at Kerry Sports, I was overwhelmed with the media’s own locker room. It’s was a privilege to be with my partner and friend, Anton Roxas of S+A, and friends from the media such as Jinno Rufino, Joey Villar, Mark Zambrano, Jutt Sulit and Nikko Ramos as we were all excited to dress up and to get on the court, breathing the same air as LeBron James.

Everything just went by so fast. Us media men got to do some drills for about 10-20 minutes, then the Gilas boys came out and had more intense drills as LeBron stepped in and injected his own brand of basketball. I can tell for sure that the national team members cherished every single minute of it as well.

After the drills, Boom Gonzalez sat down with LeBron James for a quick interview, got in all the questions from us media guys and asked them for us. When Boom was conducting the interview and my colleagues were there listening, I was busy setting up for my interview, and was blessed enough to represent ABS-CBN for an exclusive one-on-one with him.

Since it was just me and my cameraman, Diony, we had to do things on our own. When he was setting up the camera, I had to be the one to wire Lebron up with his lapel mic. I asked, “LeBron is it all right if I mic you up with this?”

“Sure brother, no problem, go ahead.” Good thing he was in a good mood and gladly obliged.

I was only given 10 minutes to conduct my interview, which for me was a stretch and enough, and with my list of questions, I made sure I stuck with those. I admit, interviewing LeBron James for the first time was nerve-racking and I made sure I kept things safe and controlled what I could control. No frills. No fancy stuff. No more, but nothing less.

Perhaps the biggest take away from my interview was when I asked “who was the greatest teammate he’s ever played with and the impact on him.” James, who’s already spending his 14th year in the league, played with so many guys from Cleveland, to Miami and back to Cleveland, always goes back to his roots. He says without his high school teammates like Romeo Travis and Dru Joyce, he won’t be the player and the man he is today.

On the top of my head, I couldn’t remember the exact words he said during our interview. Nerves were just running through my veins and made sure to ‘slow down the time’ so I can cherish every moment.

During the end of the interview, I made sure he had a message to all of his Filipino fans for the support he has received from our basketball-loving nation.

After all of the events were finished at Kerry Sports, everybody ‘flew’ and rushed to Mall of Asia Arena for the #StriveForGreatnessShow as part of his tour. I got to the Arena just in time for him to come out, and it was packed!

As said on my tweet, even though it’s his third time in the country, the fans made him feel that it was always his first time.

As mentioned in an article by Dennis Gasgonia in, he got the fans hyped when he stepped on the court with five minutes remaining in the 30-minute exhibition match. Even though he played spectator most of the time, it was fun watching him watch, the moment of anticipation of just him stepping on the court is an experience.
And this, to top it all off.

Similar to when Manny Pacquiao has a fight, every time LeBron James sets foot in Manila, the (at least) the basketball world stops, even just for a day. Just like true royalties, when a King sets his foot in your land, you must pave the way for his throne.


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