‘Diamond in the Rough’- LeBron James Heaps Huge Praise on Lakers Veteran

Published 01/12/2021, 8:14 AM EST
Oct 11, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) hugs forward Jared Dudley (10) after win over the Miami Heat after game six of the 2020 NBA Finals at AdventHealth Arena. The Los Angeles Lakers won 106-93 to win the series. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports


LeBron James is one of the older statesmen in the league now. He is one of the most tenured players, one of only two men still standing from the 2003 NBA Draft Class. However, he still takes the responsibility to be the best player on the court. But a championship team has leadership across the court, not just with one player.

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The leader of the Lakers’ bench mob is Jared Dudley, who could be considered the best role-playing veteran in the league. He helps out his teammates and is fiercely loyal to them. LeBron praised Dudley’s team spirit and called him a diamond in the rough.

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“I’ve been fortunate enough to play with some real, real true professionals in that role, and guys that are stars in their role, and Dudz is another one of those guys that whatever the team needs, man — I mean literally whatever the team needs — he is ready for whatever, both on and off the floor. That is a diamond in the rough to have for a championship-aspiring ball club, and Dudz has been that for us the last few years.”

LeBron James: Veteran magic

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One of the curious things about the Lakers’ roster makeup from last season was how they had a bench with a lot of veterans. Dwight Howard, JaVale McGee, Rajon Rondo, Jared Dudley, and even LeBron James himself.

Jan 1, 2021; San Antonio, Texas, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) brings the ball upcourt against the San Antonio Spurs in the second half at the AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports

LeBron has been a leader his entire career, but now he is a veteran as well. He entered the league before Dudley did, yet even he refers to Jared as a phenomenal leader. All accounts of him, even when Dudley was playing in Brooklyn, reaffirm the fact that he will do anything for his team.

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The Lakers’ rewarded Dudley with a ring to show for his long stint in the NBA. The only question is, can his leadership on the Lakers bench unit help propel the team to a second consecutive title win? Guess we will find out soon.

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Ishaan Bhattacharya

1510 articles

Ishaan Bhattacharya is an NBA, NCAA Basketball, and Combat Sports writer at EssentiallySports. Currently, Ishaan is pursuing a Post Graduate Degree in Journalism from Xavier's Institute of Communication. Previously, Ishaan has written for The Indian Express, The Quint, Sportskeeda, and WrestleClub.

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