When the Los Angeles Lakers signed sign Lance Stephenson shortly after LeBron James in free agency, the jokes immediately began.
At that point, Stephenson was best known for his playoff battles with his new teammate and some awkward moments within those series.
The Lakers were looking for ferocious competitors and secondary playmakers to add around James and Stephenson undoubtedly fits the bill as he is unafraid of any situation and showed he can create for himself and others. Stephenson and James also seemed to enjoy playing with each other and the former even learned from his new teammate.
“I actually learned a lot. Actually being his teammate helped my game a little bit and how he approaches it every day in practice and how he studies it,” Stephenson said during his recent exit interview. “It’s definitely helpful for the younger guys learning from him because I learned a lot from him.”
Some players may get to a point in their careers where they become set in their ways and aren’t open to anything new. It says a lot about the character of Stephenson that he is willing to learn, especially from someone who he has gone to war against numerous times.
And of course, it also says a lot about James as a leader and teammate.
“A guy like that, he’s very humble. He pushes us every day, so he’s like a coach on the floor and you need guys like that when you have a young team. It was definitely great and I learned a lot from him.”
Even though the 2018-19 NBA season did not go the way they intended, the Lakers never turned on each other and have continually backed each other up. James is a player whom everyone can learn from, especially the young core who completed their second and third seasons.