LeBron James and Anthony Davis compared themselves to Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant.
Yes, that prior Lakers star duo won three championships. But it also unraveled as the younger Kobe wanted to establish himself outside the older Shaq’s shadow.
LeBron and Davis have talked about their lack of jealousy between each other. How does that look in practice?
Dave McMenamin and Malika Andrews of ESPN:
throughout the playoff run, a couple of Davis’ teammates called him — not James — the best player in the world.
Does Davis, now 27 with a championship under his belt, believe them?
“Win a couple more championships and win a couple MVPs and get a shoe and …” Davis said, stopping himself with laughter as he listed off the bullet points that James’ CV includes. “That all comes in time. … Like, he tells me, ‘This is your team. This is your time.’ Like, ‘I’m good. If I retired today, I’m fine.’”
That’s nice of LeBron to say. But it’s not reality.
LeBron drives the Lakers. LeBron gets the most credit for their success. LeBron won Finals MVP unanimously.
Maybe LeBron is ready to cede control. He talked about doing it with Kyrie Irving on the Cavaliers. But talking about it and actually doing it are two different things.
Though LeBron has prioritized making him the focal point, Davis is not the creator who can take the reigns on the court. As long as they play together, LeBron will almost certainly dominate the ball. That naturally puts LeBron in a leadership position.
LeBron also has a long history of leading his teams. Becoming a follower after all those years in charge isn’t easy.
As they age, Davis (27) will likely surpass LeBron (35) as an overall player at some point. How will their dynamic look then? It’s impossible to say for certain until they both experience it. The risk of tension is impossible to fully remove.
But it’s encouraging they’re saying all the right things now. That’s all you can ask for at this stage.
And that championship. However their relationship – like Shaq’s and Kobe’s – unfolds, that success will endure.
More on the Lakers