LeBron James has been involved in some of the biggest moments of distraction in NBA history.
Remember “The Decision” that turned many fans against him when he left the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Miami Heat? He responded with four straight NBA title appearances.
Remember when Kyrie Irving demanded to be traded from the Cleveland Cavaliers to the Boston Celtics? LeBron responded the next year by leading an undermanned Cavs team to the NBA Finals for the fourth year in a row.
Now, LeBron plays for the Los Angeles Lakers — the one team in the NBA that has a brighter spotlight on them than any other. He was expected to lead them back to the playoffs after years of mediocrity — with a young cast of players who had never sniffed the postseason.
LeBron talks Lakers pressure
ESPN reported that LeBron James was blunt and straight forward with his idea on overcoming pressure with the Los Angeles Lakers.
“At this point, if you are still allowing distractions to affect how the way you play, then this is the wrong franchise to be a part of and you should just come and be like, ‘Listen, I don’t… I cannot do this,'” James said after the team lost to the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday night.
Last week, Bleacher Report claimed that an unnamed NBA executive said that LeBron “killed the Lakers chemistry.”
“He shouldn’t have been so public about [Anthony Davis],” the exec reportedly said. “Even during the All-Star draft, he laughed about (wanting Davis to be his teammate).”
However, as LeBron said, playing for the Lakers will always bring distractions and if players can’t put their blinders on and fight for the playoffs, they are in the wrong town.
— ESPN (@espn) February 26, 2019
LeBron’s teammates react
“It felt different,” Kyle Kuzma said after hearing LeBron’s words about the team needing to be more consistent. “New Orleans, thought we was just hopeless out there. We didn’t really get the lead back at all, and tonight we fought.”
Brandon Ingram seemed to get it, though.
“There’s a certain fire that comes out when you continue to get what you don’t want. I think that’s where the hurt comes from, the chance for us to win.”