LeBron James believes the secret to the success of his partnership with Anthony Davis goes far beyond talent.
“We're not jealous of each other,” James said Thursday. “I think that’s the best thing.”
The Lakers are three wins from a championship in their first season with the All-Star duo. Davis scored 34 points and James had 25 in their 116-98 victory over Miami in Game 1, the first time the Lakers had a pair of 25-point scorers in an NBA Finals game since Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal in Game 2 in 2004.
James played on other star-studded teams in Miami with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, and Cleveland with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. He said he's seen how jealousy can creep in on teams with multiple alpha males and it certainly seemed to derail the Bryant-O'Neal pairing that had produced three titles.
“That is the absolute contrary of what we are,” James said. “We know who we are. We know what we’re about. We want the best, seriously, every single day, both on and off the floor, for one another. We’re just not jealous of one another. I think that you align that with respect, I think the sky’s the limit.”
Davis said neither player is afraid to tell the other if he did something wrong and that they've always had good communication. He was asked if there was anything about James that would make him jealous.
“That he has a ring,” Davis said. “But he made a promise to me, and so far he’s kept it. Hopefully I don’t have to be envious of that much longer.”
Jeff Van Gundy can’t believe Mark Jackson, his NBA Finals broadcast partner and former player, hasn’t received another coaching opportunity.
Jackson is looking for a job in a league that has just five Black head coaches. Like Commissioner Adam Silver, both ABC analysts believe the numbers have to improve but are wary of a rule that would mandate it.
“One thing I don’t want is I don’t want to put in something similar to the Rooney Rule and have teams go through the motions of a fake interview just to make it sound like or seem like they interviewed a person, a minority,” Jackson said.
“There’s so many qualified individuals out there that deserve the opportunity, deserve a chance. I would be thoroughly disappointed if it continues to move the way it has, but truth told there’s 30 job opportunities, so it’s not a big pool. But there’s opportunities where it should take place and the best man should truly win the job, so hopefully it changes and I look forward to that.”
Doc Rivers, who was fired by the Clippers, reached an agreement Thursday to coach the Philadelphia 76ers. But Nate McMillan (Indiana) and Alvin Gentry (New Orleans) have lost their jobs this summer. The coaches that have been hired besides Rivers, (Tom Thibodeau in New York, Billy Donovan in Chicago and Steve Nash in Brooklyn) are white, and Nash has never coached.
Van Gundy, like Jackson a former coach whose name is frequently mentioned when there are openings, said he thinks what's happened this summer is an anomaly.
“But at the same time, we all have to be alerted to trends,” he said. “The trend in this year is that the minority coaching population has dwindled and I think we need to be alerted.”
Silver said the NBA has looked at a rule such as the NFL's Rooney Rule, which requires teams to interview minority candidates, but wasn't sure it made sense for the league office to dictate what teams should do.
Van Gundy said even if procedures are thought to be needed, they still come with flaws.
“Now the problem is no matter what rules that you possibly adopt, it still goes to the people doing the hiring to truly consider them versus just interview them, and that’s a distinct difference,” Van Gundy said.
Vince Carter picked up some more hardware on his way out of the NBA.
Carter was voted the winner of the NBA Sportsmanship Award on Thursday, honored in the final season of his record-setting, 22-year career.
Carter earned 143 first-place votes and 2,520 points in voting by NBA players. Brooklyn's Garrett Temple (1,746) and Oklahoma City's Steven Adams (1,632) were next.
The 43-year-old Carter finished his career in Atlanta, becoming the first player to appear in a game in four decades. The 1999 Rookie of the Year also received the Twyman-Stokes Teammate of the Year Award in 2015-16.
AIR UP THERE
Michael Jordan's final NBA championship run is coming back to the big — really big — screen.
“Michael Jordan to the Max” is being re-released to select IMAX theaters, 20 years after its original debut. The 45-minute film looks back at the 1998 playoffs, when the Chicago Bulls when their sixth NBA championship behind Jordan.
Actor Laurence Fishburne is the narrator of the film, which was originally shot on 70mm film cameras but now digitally remastered for IMAX format. It features NBA Commissioner Adam Silver as one of its executive producers.
Limited-time showings begin Oct. 9.
One of LeBron James' rookie trading cards sold this summer for $1.8 million at auction. James said the first thing that makes him think of is that he didn't hear much about money like that growing up in Akron, Ohio.
“And the second thing I think about is I have two rookie cards of my own, so I’ll be good for a very, very long time,” James said. “No matter what happens, I’m good.”
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