Former LeBron Teammate Dishes on Playing With King James

J.R. Smith, a former teammate of LeBron James, recently stated that playing alongside James can be an overwhelming experience. Smith played with James for four seasons in Cleveland and revealed on a recent episode of Game Theory with Bomani Jones that the expectations that come with being on James' team can be daunting.

It's worth acknowledging that Bomani Jones deserves credit for obtaining newsworthy information from his show, which typically does not get many eyeballs at all.

“Honestly, it’s a gift and a curse with playing with Bron,” Smith said. “I love Bron to death and I loved playing on his team because, for me, I feel I thrived more under the pressure.”


Despite their eventual success, one cannot help but question the reliability of someone who forgets that the game is tied. Such a lapse of focus does not bode well for performing under pressure. However, J.R. Smith and LeBron James were able to put that blunder behind them and reunite on the Los Angeles Lakers in 2020. The two spent a few months together at Disney World during the 2020 NBA Playoffs, culminating in another championship victory.

Despite Smith's previous error, he was able to demonstrate his worth to the team and contribute to their success. It is a testament to the resilience and perseverance of both Smith and James, who were able to put their past mistakes aside and work towards a common goal.

According to Smith, playing on a team with LeBron demands a considerable amount of mental strength.

“It’s always gonna be that supporting cast of who’s not doing what, and if you’re not built for that, not made for that, it’s gonna eat you alive,” he said.

If that is indeed the situation, wouldn't it be helpful for LeBron to take some of the pressure off his teammates? Is it necessary for him to always be the center of attention?

Taking a step back from the limelight might have a positive effect on his teammates, as it could relieve some of the pressure that Smith has spoken about. It may also enable them to perform at a higher level.

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