There had been plenty of speculation regarding how the dynamic would play out between the pairing of LeBron James and Anthony Davis heading into the 2019-20 NBA season.
Fortunately, it did not take long for the NBA’s premier duo to offer up their answer as they led the Los Angeles Lakers to the best record in the Western Conference on the back of an MVP-caliber season from James and Defensive Player of the Year bid from Davis.
Despite the challenging circumstances of an unprecedented season, they managed to pick up right where they left off by making it to the NBA Finals. While the immediate turnaround was certainly part of the plan for the Lakers, such success can also sow seeds of discord between those who feel they are deserving of the credit.
History has shown countless duos succumb to pride and jealousy that resulted in them leaving plenty on the table before parting ways. Fortunately, James is confident that is hardly the case when it comes to he and Davis.
“We’re not jealous of each other. I think that’s the best thing. In professional sports, you have guys that join forces to become alpha males. That’s what they call them. Two guys that have been dominant in a specific sport on their own respective teams, and they get together and they talk about how dominant they can be and they talk about this is going to be this and that,” James explained.
“I believe jealousy creeps in a lot. And that is the absolute contrary of what we are. We know who we are, we know what we’re about. We want the best, seriously, every single day, both on and off the floor, for one another. We’re just not jealous of one another. I think that you align that with respect, I think the sky’s the limit.”
LeBron added that being able to hold each other accountable has been a major factor in the mutual respect and overall chemistry shared with Davis.
“I don’t speak for other guys. I don’t know, I just speak for myself. For A.D., I know who we are. We respect one another, we drive one another, we command excellence out of one another. And that’s what it boils down to. Jealousy and envy has killed a lot of great things, not only in sports but in general,” he said.
“If you’re able to just throw that to the side and throw your egos to the side but continue to bring that confidence of what you’re trying to do of keeping the main thing the main thing — not saying it’s that easy, but for us it’s that easy when it comes to our relationship.
“It doesn’t result in wins every night, it doesn’t result in me putting up numbers or him putting up numbers every night, but as far as our brotherhood and our chemistry, that’s what it boils down to.”
Davis agrees with James, but jealous of championships
Davis echoed James’ notion that there has never been a sense of hostility between them. “The thought never crossed my mind when the trade happened. I’m not jealous of him, he’s not jealous of me. I think it shows on the court,” Davis noted.
“Obviously, that can always creep in when you’ve got, like you said, two alpha males on the same team. But I think when you’ve got two guys who are very selfless and want to win as bad as both of us want to, the rest of it goes away and just takes care of itself. Jealousy has never been a thing on our team from anyone.
“Everyone is extremely excited for the other guy. When guys get awards or accolades, our team is the first ones to congratulate them. We make sure that we bring it up in film or after the game or whenever we see it. No one is jealous of one another.”
Davis acknowledged that while he is envious of the three championship rings James has, the latter has promised to reconcile that in the near future.
“Hopefully I don’t have to be envious of that much longer,” Davis said. “I want a ring, and he has three of them. That would be the one thing for sure that I would be jealous about.”
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