Thursday, November 27, 2014


FILE - In this May 10, 2014, file photo, Miami Heat forward LeBron James motions to a fan during a break in play against the Brooklyn Nets in the second period of Game 3 of an Eastern Conference semifinal NBA playoff basketball game in New York. James told Sports Illustrated on Friday, July 11, 2014, he is leaving the Miami Heat to go back to the Cleveland Cavaliers. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson, File) (Julie Jacobson)

NBA basketball star LeBron James attends a promotional event at Phenom House, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Saturday, July 12, 2014. James who will attend the final game of the 2014 soccer World Cup, has announced his return to play for the Cleveland Cavaliers after four years in Miami. (AP Photo/Leo Correa) (Leo Correa)

NBA basketball star LeBron James walks surrounded by security guards as he attends a promotional event at Phenom House, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Saturday, July 12, 2014. James who will attend the final game of the 2014 soccer World Cup, has announced his return to play for the Cleveland Cavaliers after four years in Miami. (AP Photo/Leo Correa) (Leo Correa)

NBA basketball star LeBron James, left, talks with his teammate, Anderson Varejao as they attend a event at Phenom House, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Saturday, July 12, 2014. James who will attend the final game of the 2014 soccer World Cup, has announced his return to play for the Cleveland Cavaliers after four years in Miami. (AP Photo/Leo Correa) (Leo Correa)
LeBron: World Cup final 'bigger' than NBA finals
LeBron James says World Cup final is 'bigger' than NBA finals; straddles fence on who will win

Posted on July 12, 2014 at 12:00 a.m. | Updated on July 12, 2014 at 7:28 p.m.

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Just a few hours after arriving in Brazil, LeBron James sized up the World Cup final and said it trumps the NBA finals.

“This is the highest you can get,” James said Saturday, a day after announcing he was returning to play for the Cleveland Cavaliers. “This is bigger than the NBA finals in the sense that it’s the world and you have so many countries here.”

James met a few hundred fans in a large warehouse located on Guanabara Bay, where he watched some young Brazilians show off a few of their basketball skills.

He will attend Sunday’s final at the Maracana Stadium, but he declined to pick a winner.

“I’m not sure,” he said. “I think Germany is the better overall team, but Argentina has one of the best players in the world — maybe the best, (Lionel) Messi. So that’s why we play the game and we’ll see what happens. I hope it’s a great one.”

James is a minority investor in Premier League club Liverpool and said he’s been following football — he called it both football and soccer and seemed comfortable doing it — “for a pretty long time.”

“I’ve been watching it from home in the States and it’s been an unbelievable tournament,” he said.

James walked around with new Cavaliers teammate Anderson Varejao, a Brazilian, and said he couldn’t wait to start playing again in Cleveland.

As for playing at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, however, James wouldn’t commit to a decision either way, saying it was “too early to say.”

Stephen Wade on Twitter: http://twitter.com/StephenWadeAP