“LeBron wanted him fired after 17 games”
With his shadow GM label, LeBron James often finds himself suspected of pulling the strings behind the scenes of his teams. An image that is not likely to abandon him following the shocking revelations of a great leader of the league!
The coach can both approach a blessing and a nightmare. One of the most illustrious players in NBA history, LeBron James has therefore been a weapon of choice for his coaches since the start of his career. The latter can indeed trust him almost blindly given his talent, his intelligence and his leadership on the ground.
However, all of these benefits also come with much less obvious downsides from a fan perspective. Almighty in each of his franchises, the King very often, if not always, had greater importance there than his hierarchical superior. As such, he was regularly able to play a role in the dismissals of technicians having taken place where he was evolving, and almost offered the head of others.
LeBron James’ big pressure move at the Heat
Full of ambition when he arrived in Miami in 2010, LeBron landed there under the orders of young Erik Spoelstra, still very inexperienced at the time in his role. The beginnings of their collaboration also proved to be delicate, with a record of 9-8 after 17 games played. So much so that the Chosen One, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh would have tried to have his skin, as revealed by Pat Riley in The Soul of Basketball :
They wanted to fire him at that time. They told me, “We don’t feel it” or something like that. So, I had to throw out the usual stuff, that you had to be patient and all that. But I remember LeBron looking at me and saying, “Does it itch? I asked him what, and he said, ‘To train again? I said, « No, I don’t itch. » »
He didn’t ask more questions, and I didn’t offer him more answers. But I knew what it meant, and I often remember that moment wondering what he was thinking at that exact moment. He left the room scratching his leg, as if it itched.
Everyone will therefore have detected LBJ’s intentions with these remarks.
Even Pat Riley, whom James would obviously have liked to see return to the head of the Heat bench, had understood the hidden message of his star. Nevertheless, convinced of Spoelstra’s talent, the big Florida boss therefore decided to maintain his confidence in him, and reaped the rewards later with two titles won. Who knows, however, what his balance sheet would have been in this same position!
Not convinced by Erik Spoelstra following his first games under his command, LeBron James would have made it clear to Pat Riley that he was waiting for his dismissal. A request that the latter did not ultimately accede to, and rightly so!