LeBron James is, arguably, one of the greatest NBA players of all time; he has even made the claim himself. You would think that this would ensure players are queuing up to play with him.
However, when he moved to the Lakers last year no other stars took the opportunity to join him, potentially making an unbeatable team.
Granted, there weren’t a huge amount of available options, but Paul George chose to stay with Oklahoma, Jimmy Butler was moved to the Philadelphia 76ers, while Kawhi Leonard was traded to the Toronto Raptors.
This was despite George and Leonard expressing interest in joining LeBron James. Butler never committed to even having an interest in the Lakers.
It’s enough to leave you frustrated and potentially out of pocket. While sports betting isn’t legal in every state, you can check this list of states to verify where it is legal; it is exactly this type of bet that can end up making the bookmakers a lot of money.
After all, it would have seemed reasonable to believe that every player would want to play with James.
However, the reality is a little different.
Why Players Don’t Want To Join James
It’s an unfortunate fact that the greatest players in any sport will attract a lot of media attention. However, when this happens it can create an inordinate amount of pressure on the other players, this will cause their play to suffer and effectively create a toxic environment.
The effect is amplified because of how good James is, there are plenty of writers who aren’t interested in the stats, they just want to write glowing comments about James. That pulls the attention away from the game and the other players, which isn’t going to help anyone’s prospects.
If you’re a star in your own right then you’re going to need to sacrifice your own role and support James, while dealing with a potentially toxic environment and the extra media scrutiny.
In short, if you want to play with James, you’re going to have to adapt your style to fit his, not the other way around. While some players feel this is worthwhile in order to get a shot at the championship, established stars are not seeing the benefit of a supporting role.
The Bottom Line
It’s this summer that will really test the accuracy of this theory. The Lakers have the space to add a second star to their team. If they’re pursuing one and failing to get one, or simply have no interest, it will prove that there is no NBA superstar left who wants to play with Lebron James.
The saddest part of this is that it’s not James who is at fault. He has simply attracted so many fans and groupies that it’s impossible to control them and avoid the toxic environment. That’s a shame because there could be some great matches out there which would really make the game sizzle.