On Thursday, New Orleans Pelicans executive vice president David Griffin made headlines as he detailed his final couple of years working for the Cleveland Cavaliers to Sports Illustrated. In particular, Griffin surprised many by implying that James had lost his basketball motivation after winning a title for his hometown with nothing else left to prove.
NBA fans were not the only ones surprised by Griffin’s comments, as it turns out. According to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin, James’ camp were “shocked” to hear them and even encouraged Griffin to clarify:
Sources close to James told ESPN on Thursday they were “shocked” at Griffin’s characterization of the superstar. James seemingly addressed the Griffin story via a tweet on Thursday without mentioning him by name.
Griffin and a person close to James spoke after the SI story was published, sources told ESPN, and Griffin expressed that some context was missing behind his comments. James’ camp encouraged Griffin to clear up his stance on the record, sources said.
LeBron seemed to take a shot at the story with a cryptic tweet. Later, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted a link with a previously recorded podcast with Griffin with the addition that Griffin had issued more clarification during their conversation. That may have been done by Griffin’s request.
Alright alright. Enough is enough. The throne has been played with to much and I ain’t for horseplay. Ether coming soon! 😁🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥👑 #JamesGang✊🏾
— LeBron James (@KingJames) August 1, 2019
Covered a lot of ground in recent pod with David Griffin on building around LeBron James in Cleveland and his consistent context was this: The scrutiny and unforgiving pressure surrounding the environment inspired the joylessness of Cavs title run, not James himself. https://t.co/LgjSCmkHbr
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) August 1, 2019
The reasoning behind Griffin’s comments – which no amount of context could really excuse – is unknown. Griffin was let go by the Cavs shortly after James’ decision to sign with the Lakers, famously debated as a move with little to no basketball motivation behind it.
Regardless of James’ decision to move to Los Angeles, however, claiming that one of the all-time greats has suddenly lost his competitiveness is a strong charge and not something that LeBron will take lightly. The star missed the postseason for the first time since his second year in the league last year and has, as a result, seen a lot of doubt about his ability heading into his 17th season in the NBA.