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Larry Bird Refused To Trade For LeBron James' Teammates: "I Said, 'You Don't Understand, Son. Those Guys Playing With LeBron James Look A Whole Lot Better Than They Really Are'."

Larry Bird Refused To Trade For LeBron James' Teammates: "I Said, 'You Don't Understand, Son. Those Guys Playing With LeBron James Look A Whole Lot Better Than They Really Are'."

LeBron James may have passed Karl Malone for 2nd place in the NBA's all-time scoring list on Saturday night so it's easy to forget that James doesn't even primarily see himself as a scorer. His passing and elite court vision has been LeBron's calling card throughout his NBA career and nobody has benefited from that more than the various teammates he has carried to success over the years. 

The fact that playing with LeBron James gets people paid is an open secret around the league, even though a lot of them can't maintain the same level of play without him. And it's so widely acknowledged that Larry Bird himself used it as a reason to not make a trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers for their players when he was President of Basketball Operations for the Indiana Pacers (via CelticsWire). 

“[Former Pacers’ GM David] Morway was trying to get me to trade for them [J.J. Hickson and a selection of other teammates of James], but I ain’t takin’ any of them fucking guys up there,” Lowe said, quoting Bird from Thomsen’s book, The Soul of Basketball. “I said ‘you don’t understand son. Them guys playing with LeBron James look a whole lot better than what they really are.'”

LeBron James has carried teams that nobody ever expected to have success to playoff glory multiple times in his career. He famously played without a star for the majority of his first stint in Cleveland and even in his later years after the championship with the Cavaliers, he didn't exactly have the most stellar rosters. 

The magic might have finally worn off a little bit though, with the Lakers struggling mightily this season despite LeBron's brilliant individual performances. His teammates haven't necessarily looked very good either as they lounge 10 games under .500. However, the emergence of Austin Reaves is another example of this category and while most people might not know what they're talking about, Larry Bird most definitely does.