Miami Heat superstar LeBron James is one of the greatest basketball players on the planet. At 28 years old, he is a two-time NBA champion and a two-time Olympic gold medalist. He has amassed nine All-Star appearances and four league MVPs.
And yet one of the keys to his success may have nothing to do with his athletic ability.
In an interview with Chris Broussard of ESPN The Magazine, James explains how he came to the decision to turn off his cell phone and watch TV more selectively during the postseason in order to focus as much as possible on the task at hand.
"I turn my phones off," James said. "No communication."
Part of shutting off those lines of communications includes not checking Twitter. Back in April, he signed off for the 2013 playoffs with the message:
Zero Dark Thirty-6 Activated! I'm gone
— LeBron James (@KingJames) April 21, 2013
He didn't tweet again until a month later -- with the championship ring on his finger.
James said that unplugging helps him resist getting caught up in the pre-game hype. "Everything's magnified during the playoffs," James said, "and I like to get away from it ... Just to focus. I wanted to try it. It was something unconventional."
James' "unconventional" idea came on the heels of Miami's 2011 Finals loss to Dallas, during which he averaged fewer than 18 points per game, a career playoff worst. "I froze, I didn't show up, I was late for my own funeral," he told Broussard.
Facing the same media frenzy the following year, he was looking for a way to improve his performance. "I said, 'You know what? The playoffs start on Saturday. I'm going to turn my phones off on Friday. I'm going to see if I can do it.'"
James explained to Sideline's Craig Sager last April what he does with his time instead. "Just read a little more than I did during the regular season," James told him. "Not much sports talk radio. I watch the playoffs. I watch cartoons with my kids. I watch movies with the family but not much of what sports (broadcasters) are talking about."
Among the titles James read during the 2012 season were "The Hunger Games" trilogy and Jay-Z's Decoded. "The reading has helped me get away from the game a little bit, and I'm able zero in once I'm done and get ready for the games," James said, according to USA Today.
His strategy is also reportedly rubbing off on his head coach, Eric Spoelstra, the outlet reported.
James recently took the "no phone" policy a step further, reportedly discouraging guests from bringing phones to his San Diego wedding -- although the request was probably unrelated to his need for concentration.
In an ironic twist, James has a sponsorship deal with Samsung, maker of the popular Galaxy phone.