Former Cavs GM Slams LeBron James And Describes Why It Was ‘Miserable’ Building A Team Around Superstar
LeBron James is one of the most demanding athletes ever, we all know that. He’ll work behind-the-scenes to get what he wants. He’ll tweet cryptic things to teammates to show his passive aggressive side. He’s moody when things aren’t going right. Call him a prima donna or self-entitled, but James has been able to back up all his postering by going to nine NBA Finals’ in his career, winning three titles.
Thing is, while LeBron James is, arguably, the greatest basketball player ever — or at least trying to make his case — not everyone enjoys the pressure it takes to satisfy the four-time league MVP. One of those guys? His former general manager with the Cleveland Cavaliers, David Griffin, who recently spoke to Sports Illustrated about what it was really like to try and keep James happy, calling the process “miserable” to be a part of.
“Everything we did was so inorganic and unsustainable and, frankly, not fun. I was miserable,” Griffin said. “Literally the moment we won the championship I knew I was gonna leave. There was no way I was gonna stay for any amount of money.”
But Griffin, who’s the current executive vice president of the New Orleans Pelicans, didn’t stop there, because he even questioned James’ passion for winning after getting a title for his hometown state, which was one of his stated goals and the sole reason for returning to the Cavs in 2014. Take a look at what Griff had to say below.
Winning a title in his home state also has affected James’ mindset on the court, Griffin said, wondering if the now Los Angeles Laker is more preoccupied with other priorities.
“There wasn’t a lot else for him,” Griffin said. “I don’t think he’s the same animal anymore about winning.”
Griffin told SI that he privately wept the night the Cavaliers won the title, saying he was so obsessed with winning that he “didn’t love the game anymore.”
“The reason is LeBron is getting all the credit and none of the blame. And that’s not fun for people,” Griffin said of the challenge of working with and playing with James. “They don’t like being part of that world.”
These are some heavy words from a person who directly worked closely with LeBron James — especially when James supported the guy after he left the team. Though critical, they might not be false. Lots of people question whether or not James’ passion for basketball is the same since moving to the Los Angeles Lakers last summer, with many wondering if he’s more interested in building his brand off the court than trying to win titles. And while he was a key factor in the team acquiring Anthony Davis this summer — which puts the team into title content — he’s going to be 35 in December, so his best basketball might be behind him.
David Griffin did pretty much everything he could do to help get players around LeBron James to compete for a title year after year. Seems like that took its toll on the guy, and it’s hard to blame him for speaking up about how it impacted him (and, presumably, others), seeing James get all the credit.