“I was a LeBron James Hater”: Former Teammate Opens Up On Playing with the Star

Published 10/28/2020, 2:00 PM EDT
Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) holds the ball as he gestures to his team during the third quarter in game one of the Western Conference Finals of the 2020 NBA Playoffs against the Denver Nuggets at AdventHealth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports


Can anybody pull off playing 17 years in the NBA as exceptionally as LeBron James has? Not at an MVP level, at least. King James had an incredible run last season, holding the top seed in the Western Conference, going unchallenged and sweeping the NBA title from the Miami Heat. They did it all and a lot of the credit goes to their pack leader, James.

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The upside for James this time was having somebody to rely on. Anthony Davis did a brilliant job becoming his right-hand man and being one of the big men during clutch moments. If LeBron had had to carry the team every night, it would have been way tougher for the Lakers to bring home a title.

Just a few days after leaving the bubble, the world already saw LeBron back in the gym and keeping in shape. He’s already all fired up and ready for a repeat next season. After watching him dominate the court as usual, LeBron’s former teammate from the Cleveland Cavaliers talked about what it was like playing with the star.

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The experience of playing with LeBron James

Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

On Showtime with Lakers’ legend Michael Cooper, Dahntay Jones explained how his perception of LeBron changed over the years. Cooper asked, “You find yourself with LeBron James, you go and you guys win a championship. What was it like playing with him?”

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“… I was a LeBron James hater,” said Jones. “Played against him for thirteen years and I had to guard him, be on the trenches but always on the other side. I mean in the playoffs and the regular season. He’s so talented. Being on the other side, you always think he’s cheating. You always think something’s going on that’s not. So, I walked into the situation knowing him but not knowing what he brings to a team.”

“I got a guy who’s the greatest in the world. And he started off our journey asking me what he could do to be better,” Jones said. He further narrated the one thing he admires most about LeBron. He stated, “He always wants to be a coach, and he takes information all the time and applies it if he respects you. So now, I got the greatest guy in the world taking everything from me because I’ve guarded him before.”

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After an impressive campaign, LeBron and co. will be looking to come stronger and even better next season with the hopes to keep the title for themselves once again.

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Yashima Bhatia

1466 articles

Yashima Bhatia is an NBA writer for EssentiallySports who specialises in providing nuanced predictions and updates for matches. She has a Bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communication. Yashima's love for playing the game came up at a young age, when the excitement of the games coupled with the intensity of the Playoffs had her hooked.

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