This was even further pushed when the two met up on Opening Night of the 2019-20 NBA season with one of the best October games the league has ever seen.
However, Lakers and Clippers players swear there is no rivalry as players rarely admit to such things unless a long-standing one already exists. However, as always in the NBA, that’s never enough as many tried to push a personal rivalry between Leonard and James.
This personal rivalry has never been spoken about by either player, but an anonymous Eastern Conference general manager thinks there may be some truth to it. Although the two might have ‘mutual respect,’ they do not have a lot of ‘admiration’ for one another, according to Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report:
“I would say there’s mutual respect but that there’s an appropriate level of fear as well,” the GM says. “They know each other are really talented. But there’s not a lot of admiration. I don’t see them going out to dinner.”
While there’s no way to verify the truth to this, James and Leonard not having a personal relationship isn’t the most outlandish idea. While both of them are now in Los Angeles, they live very different lifestyles. Leonard is quiet, under the radar, and likes to keep to himself. On the other hand, James is one of the NBA’s biggest personalities.
Perhaps James and Leonard really don’t have admiration for one another, but it’s more likely the two just simply aren’t close friends.
The NBA lives off drama, but there doesn’t need to be drama in everything and this is likely one of those stories that doesn’t need to be told in great detail like some of the other great stories this league has provided.