Brendan Haywood talked about the circumstances in which he first talked to LeBron James about playing for the Cavaliers in a recent interview.
Haywood played for the Wizards through most of his NBA career of 14 years. During the 9 seasons he spent in DC, he met James in the playoffs thrice, losing all three times. Wizards vs Cavs was low-key one of the most intense rivalries in the NBA during those years.
It therefore stands to reason that Haywood would be hesitant to join LeBron – joining your rivals wasn’t popular back then. You had to be conscious of your public image in order to make money off court.
Brendan Haywood played with Jordan and LeBron. Anyone else do that? pic.twitter.com/oP57fTreD8
— Josh Eberley🇨🇦 (@JoshEberley) February 12, 2018
Brendan Haywood recounts the recruiting pitch LeBron James launched at him
Haywood teamed up with LeBron James during 2014-15, though he didn’t play much of a role in that contending roster. He only appeared in 22 games in the regular season, and one game in the playoffs. LeBron tried to recruit Haywood before during Haywood’s time with Dallas:
“Before he went to the Heat, he was recruiting guys to come to Cleveland. I get a text from a number that I don’t know. It’s LeBron. He says: ‘What’s up, this is King James.’ It was a little weird he called himself King James but I kept going. He told me he was trying to get guys to come to the Cavs.”
Haywood thought it was “weird” that LeBron referred to himself as King James
“I get a text from a number that I don’t know. It’s LeBron. He says: ‘What’s up, this is King James.’ It was a little weird he called himself King James but I kept going.” https://t.co/fcyMzUo0aC
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) December 13, 2020
“I’d played so many playoff series against him that I saw him as another player. If you play in the league, you look at guys a little differently. He was younger than I was. I looked at him like he was anybody else.”