LeBron James didn’t always have teammates’ respect in Cleveland
As if LeBron James ever needed to prove his worth in order to earn respect from teammates. Afterall, James was the most hyped high school athlete, perhaps ever, and surely playing alongside the rookie when he joined the Cavaliers in 2003 was nothing short of a prestige honor, right?
Well, reports surfacing from Chris Tomasson at Fox Sun Sports say different. Former head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Paul Silas tells a story of what seems like it could have been simple rookie hazing, or pure jealousy from James’ teammates as he entered the NBA ten years ago.
Silas wouldn’t give any names. But he said that not long after James showed up in Cleveland, there were teammates who were critical of James when the 18-year-old could hear them.
“We had a few guys that would test him,” Silas said. “They would say, ‘What has he done to warrant all this hype?’ They would say it where he could hear them. There were some problems.
“LeBron got down a few times about it. Sometimes he would just be sitting there and not get up right away for shooting (during a practice). I’d come over and tell him, ‘You have to just forget about that. You can’t worry about that. You’re a professional.’ But (the comments from his teammates) all went away when he started putting up numbers.”
This seems like a classic case of teammates being jealous of a young kid who hadn’t proved anything yet at the pro level. I understand that players wanted to see James prove his value, before worshipping the ground he walks on. But prove it he has since entering the league. LeBron has catapulted himself into discussions of possibly being the best to ever lace ’em up. James saw the Cavaliers become a fixture in the playoffs over his tenure in Cleveland, and has done the same in Miami as a member of the Heat.
NBA players have their pride, and that’s okay, but this kid, LeBron, has really lived up to the hype in ways that many of us never imagined were even possible.