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“LeBron James Excelled Despite Jealousy”: How The Lakers Superstar Was Undermined By His Own Teammates as a Rookie

Anujit Vijayakumar

"LeBron James Excelled Despite Jealousy": How The Lakers Superstar Was Undermined By His Own Teammates as a Rookie

Former Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Paul Silas praised the plaudits of an 18-year-old LeBron James, amidst the latter being resented by his own teammates.

LeBron James’ advent and success in the NBA were prognosticated by everyone except his own future teammates, who were riled with jealousy. Back in 2003, James had garnered the attention of the NBA, despite having not played a single minute in the league.

The principal reason for this was his eminence displayed on a nightly basis against his fellow school counterparts. At the tender age of 18, James was wreaking havoc at a level that the NBA had neither seen nor heard of.

It quickly entailed him being hailed as a generational talent and the heir to the throne of Michael Jordan. Not precisely a second coming of His Airness, due to the vast contrasts in their approach to the game and style of play, but due to their ability to gander an audience.

While the King had an established fan base at the time, he had more than his fair share of critiques who berated him. Little did one think, a part of it would stem from his soon-to-be teammates.

As that is precisely what happened when the Cavaliers players were visibly envious of his eminence. 

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LeBron James displayed he was ‘The Chosen One’ in 2003, despite the covetous ego of his teammates

Newly anointed head coach Paul Silas had no doubt that James was bound to be successful in the NBA off his initial few practices. Accordingly, he beseeched with his veterans to take him under their wing and enable him to prosper.

As opposed to the initial route they took of slating him due to his age. 

Silas said: 

“I kept telling them, ‘You have a chance to help one of the game’s future stars,’ but they wouldn’t embrace him. If it bothered LeBron, he never let on. We won 35 games that year because of him. He’s had some outstanding seasons since then, but that first one may have been the most impressive because of how he excelled in spite of the jealousy on his own team.”

The Cavaliers, who notched an abysmal 17 wins in their 2002/2003 campaign, outright questioned James and never paid him his dues. Particularly Darius Miles and Carlos Boozer. 

Silas’ arrival at the Cleveland Cavaliers was capped off by the incredible basketball mindset of James, who left the coach bewildered at the events transpiring before him in relation to James.

Silas particularly recalled James‘ ability to soak knowledge from those that came before him and imprint it into his mind. It sanctioned Silas’ move to make him a revolutionary ‘Point Forward’. 

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Point Forward LeBron James

The Point Forward role combines the playmaking responsibilities of a point guard and the scoring duties of a Forward on the court. James’ playmaking abilities have been lauded over the past decade and a half, in addition to his scoring prowess.

It has at long last culminated to a point where the four-time NBA MVP has now asserted himself a place amongst the top five players in scoring and assists in NBA history. 

In retrospect, it was absurd that former Cavaliers players admonished James. In spite of the four-time NBA champion being the most highly touted basketball star coming into the league.

Given his extensive accomplishments, it would have boded well for his former teammates to rather hop on his bandwagon even as an 18-year-old. 

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About the author

Anujit Vijayakumar

Anujit Vijayakumar


Anujit Vijayakumar is an NBA and Combat Sports writer at The SportsRush. An avid sports enthusiast, Anujit has been involved in the NBA and Combat Sports spectrum for over five years. Having joined The SportsRush in 2022, Anujit has been an integral member of both the basketball and combat sports community. He has published over 200 articles for NBA and over 150 articles for MMA primarily since his tenure began as a content writer.

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