Paul Silas: LeBron Not always Liked by Teammates in Cleveland
By all accounts, the Miami Heat are an extremely close team. From their unity and willingness to share the ball on the court, to the fun they obviously like to have off the court, if there was ever a team who considered themselves brothers it is probably this squad. With LeBron James qualifying as their best player, it can be safely assumed that he is their leader and certainly permeates a fun locker room vibe.
But apparently, LeBron’s locker rooms weren’t always the most fun to be in. In fact, if you ask Paul Silas who was his coach while a rookie in Cleveland, not every player there even liked LeBron. Chris Tomasson of Fox Sun Sports elaborates below.
Silas wouldn’t give any names. But he said that not long after James showed up in Cleveland, there were teammates who were critical of James when the 18-year-old could hear them.
“We had a few guys that would test him,” Silas said. “They would say, ‘What has he done to warrant all this hype?’ They would say it where he could hear them. There were some problems.
“LeBron got down a few times about it. Sometimes he would just be sitting there and not get up right away for shooting (during a practice). I’d come over and tell him, ‘You have to just forget about that. You can’t worry about that. You’re a professional.’ But (the comments from his teammates) all went away when he started putting up numbers.”
Was this simply just a case of rookie hazing? I believe so. LeBron was so hyped coming out of high school and into the draft, I’m sure players in the Cleveland locker room were slow to give him his respect until he actually earned it on the court.
For what it is worth though, I think it is safe to say he earned their respect eventually.