Many wonder what it’s like to be James’ teammate. We’ve seen King James going in on tirades on guys like Mario Chalmers and Tristan Thompson, but Jones gives a unique perspective on how playing with James has caused him and the rest of the Cavs role players to tone down on their natural basketball talent, which in turn elevates James to further greatness via For The Win.
“It’s a combination of things. It’s a two-way street. If you look at what Channing Frye does, and Richard (Jefferson) and all of our role players, who they are and what their strengths are, LeBron allows that to happen because of his versatility. And because he’s such a willing player, because he’s willing to forego scoring extra points and willing to make the hockey assist, we appreciate that and understand that. And we’re willing to narrow our scope.
“Every player in this league gets to this level because they’re extremely talented, just super-talented. And rarely can we make it to this level just being specialists. But when you’re playing with someone like LeBron, you have to specialize. Your ability to specialize allows him to be Mr. Everything. Your willingness to be a specialist allows him to dominate.
“We always talk about, on this team, about pride and ego and checking it at the door. As great as he is, he’s one of few examples of the world’s best player in any sport dealing with his pride and ego. His pride, his ego, he could easily go out and lead the league in triple-doubles every night. But his pride is about winning and making sure that his teammates are successful. So his only thought in every situation is, ‘How can I make these guys better? How can I take these guys to the promised land? How can I make these guys champions?’ The rest of his game flows from there.
“He’s unique in that regard. As much as people say you have to fit around LeBron, here you just give LeBron pieces. Then he’ll fit and mold his game to those pieces.”
There’s no shade in what Jones is saying. He even makes it a point to say that James makes his teammates better, but they all recognize that it’s never going to work if there are “too many chiefs and not enough Indians.” Foregoing their own natural talent and egos led the the team to bring back the NBA to Cleveland after all.