LeBron James’ win-now mentality helped the Los Angeles Lakers win the NBA championship again in 2020. But the 37-year-old has also been a great mentor for L.A.’s young talent despite his reputation for prioritizing the present at the expense of the future.
Alex Caruso, Kyle Kuzma, Malik Monk and Austin Reaves are some of the players who have benefited from developing a strong bond with James. Earlier this year, Monk said it was a “life-changing experience” to play by the four-time NBA champion’s side, even for just a year.
James has also taken a few rising NBA stars who play on other teams under his wing, including new Atlanta Hawks guard Dejounte Murray. During the Hawks’ annual media day, Murray expressed his gratitude for the 18-time All-Star’s guidance on and off the floor:
He’s a great dude. A great man, a great father, a great leader, a great basketball player. Somebody that took me under his wing around 17 years old. So, you know, I’m always preaching I’m thankful and grateful because I mean that. I’m just thankful to have somebody like that in my corner, guiding me off the floor and also on the floor. So, that’s a great dude and I appreciate it.
Both Murray and James are represented by Klutch Sports, which certainly helped the former San Antonio Spurs star establish a relationship with the Lakers All-Star. Nevertheless, James has indeed been in Murray’s corner and supported the triple-double specialist on his way to becoming an All-Star last season.
After NBA commissioner Adam Silver chose Murray to replace Draymond Green in the 2022 All-Star Game, James tweeted he was proud of the talented scorer, adding he’s “been in his ear since Day 1.”
The Lakers forward also stayed for a late workout with the 26-year-old after the pro-am game at the CrawsOver in Seattle was cut short due in late August.
Austin Reaves describers how special it is to play alongside James
Reaves enjoyed James’ trust during his strong rookie year, playing a part in his rapid rise from an undrafted free agent to a Lakers starter. The guard recently described how special it is to share the floor with James.
Playing with him is very easy,” Reaves said. “I mean he really puts you in the right spots for you to be successful, and also for the team as well. He really is someone that can orchestrate a whole game.
“For me to be able to share the floor with him and you know, have these moments are very special to me and you know, hopefully we can keep doing it.”
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