LeBron James says he would’ve been the same player he is now and Stephen A. Smith has called him out over the statement.
Smith took LeBron to task on the latest episode of First Take on Tuesday.
“What the hell is wrong with you LeBron?” Smith asked. “What the hell is wrong with you? Let me tell y’all something. LeBron James loses, in Boston, when he goes to Miami – how does it happen?
“You got James Dolan talking about making him a billionaire. That didn’t work. You got other teams looking at him. Pat Riley rolled up and put rings on the table. ‘Do you want these? OK, well here’s how you get them.’”
Here are LeBron’s full comments that Smith is referring to:
“I think I would still be at this level no matter if I would’ve came here or not,” LeBron said. “Let’s not get it twisted: The four years I was here, it was amazing. I loved everything about it. Loved this franchise, this franchise is top tier, it’s one of the best franchises in the world.
“But as far as my career, my career was going to be my career as far as individually, because I know how much I put into the game and I know how much I strived to be as great as I can be. [But] as far as what I was able to learn here was second to none, that’s for sure.”
LeBron has since clarified that he meant his individual skill level would have been equally elite, with or without Miami.
This is a different conversation as to whether he would have won as many championships, which could be where some level of misunderstanding comes in.
You damn right I would still be! I’m CHOSEN! Ain’t nothing changing that! Maybe less 💍’s but DOMINANT from start to finish 👑 https://t.co/vZUH3b1pCn
— LeBron James (@KingJames) November 8, 2023
During that same conversation with reporters, James was very clear that he wouldn’t be able to win championships in Cleveland during his first stint with the Cavaliers, and that he needed Miami to do so.