Following the 2018/19 NBA season, David Griffin didn’t expect much more from LeBron James for the rest of his career. Now that the King is once again in the Finals, an old quote by Griffin has resurfaced to show people that he doubted James.
He said LeBron wasn’t the same animal about winning following his first year with the Los Angeles Lakers. Griffin, who now works as the New Orleans Pelicans GM, talked with Sports Illustrated about several topics in August of 2019, and of course, LeBron James had to be one of those.
According to Griffin, James wasn’t the same player he once was, he wasn’t as hungry as he was before since he had different goals for his life.
They of course found vindication in 2016, historically overcoming a 3-1 series deficit against the 73-9 Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals. The following season, however, brought that fantasy summer crashing back to reality. James’ contagious hunger to deliver a championship for Northeast Ohio dissipated. “There wasn’t a lot else for him,” Griffin says. “I don’t think he’s the same animal anymore about winning.” Many in the NBA now suggest James harbors two priorities: enduring to team with his eldest son, Bronny, and one day owning a franchise. The rest of the Cavaliers, in kind, hibernated on their laurels.
These remarks came after LeBron’s first season with the Lakers, where he only won 37 games with the purple and gold. Of course, everybody would say different things about Bron and his hunger for titles, but this year he changed that narrative. He’s leading the Lakers to their first NBA Finals appearance since 2010 while playing great basketball.
That season was only a setback for James but he has proven once again that only a few players want to win as much as him.