Wednesday, January 25th, 2012 at 10:30 am  |  40 responses

LeBron James Mentoring Cleveland Cavaliers Rookies

Most Cleveland sports fans, we can safely assume, hate LeBron James. But that doesn’t apply to the city’s sports stars, some of whom continue to look to James for professional advice and guidance. Per the Sun-Sentinel and ESPN: “As high school stars, Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson met James at his invitation-only camp. Ever since then, the two Cleveland Cavaliers rookies have kept in contact with James, looking at him as a source of advice. It doesn’t matter that James broke Cleveland’s heart, leaving the Cavaliers to play for the Miami Heat. James’ relationship with Irving and Thompson remains the same. ‘I think besides what I do individually, I think that’s just what I was born to do, and that’s just try to give back,’ James said. ‘I try to give back my knowledge of the game, give back what I’ve learned over the years to these younger guys coming into the league. I always have like an open phone invite. I’ve seen it all, everything. I don’t have to break it down, I’ve seen it all.’ [...] Kyrie Irving, the No. 1 pick in last year’s draft, and Tristan Thompson, the No. 4 pick, both have long relationships with James and consider him a mentor. Irving is off to a fantastic start to his career, an early front-runner to win the Rookie of the Year Award, like James did for the Cavs back in 2003-04, and has been getting advice on dealing with life in the NBA from the man he is essentially replacing. James has been watching and doing plenty of encouraging. ‘We talk a lot; I’ve been knowing Kyrie since he was a ninth grader and it’s been great to see him continue to get better over the years and do the things he’s doing in Cleveland right now,’ James said. ‘He’s been playing great. He’s been showing why he’s the No. 1 pick in the draft. Cleveland got a great pick.’ James has known Thompson nearly as long and last year Thompson selected one of James’ best friends and business partners, Rich Paul, to be one of his agents. For James, that virtually makes Thompson part of his extended family. The feeling is apparently mutual. ‘Me and LeBron’s relationship is pretty close,’ Thompson said. ‘He’s like a brother to me.’”

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  • Naz

    Thompson said. ‘He’s like a brother to me.’” Well if that is a good thing, God would have a brother as well.:)

  • AD

    clevland fans are dumb….. acting like Lebron james was Jesus for seven years…

  • Riggs

    and then he was Judas

  • http://nba.com GP23

    ^He was.. I think the franchise should retire his No. 23 jersey… but we all know that probably won’t happen.

  • http://nba.com GP23

    that was meant for AD

  • bull22

    this lebron cat may end up being a great GM by taking these guys under his wing and then convincing these cats to go to miami, LOL!

  • RunNGun

    He’s also whispering in their ears this: “Come play for me in Miami when your rookie contract is done. We can be a super team along with Bosh and Wade.”

  • Bawse

    Is he teaching them how 2 talk big but choke in the end? Ohh and blame everyone else

  • http://slamonline.com. datkid

    cosign GP23 he’s probably the greatest cavalier ever.

  • Hum

    ^not probably… He definitely is

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    He’s unquestionably the best Cavalier ever.

  • burnt_chicken

    I suppose that depends on how you define ‘greatest’. For all the hate he inspired (justified or not), I think you can make an argument that while James might have been the greatest talent, BRAD DAUGHERTY would be a better candidate for greatest Cavalier ever. Possibly unquestionably.

  • Jeremy

    Um, there is no argument. Lebron James is the greatest Cav ever. Dude is already in the discussion for GOAT, once he wins a couple rings there will be no doubt. I am a hater when it comes to him, but it is inevitable, there is no doubt in my mind that 27 year old MJ < 27 year old lebron.

  • Dirk Nowitzki’s Mane

    If Kyrie fails to excel in the 4th quarter in a close game we’ll know who to blame.

  • robb

    He’s telling them “gtf of Cleveland as soon as you can”. And he’ll be in the discussion for GOAT when he actually wins something. Right now he’s one of the best basketball players ever but he’s no GOAT, not even close. He’s the greatest Cavalier of all time, but that’s it.

  • patrick

    “I’ve seen it all”. Um, really? You sure about that?

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Jeremy, No way in hell is LbJ better now then MJ at the same age. No he isn’t in GOAT discussions. No one is. MJ is GOAT. PERIOD. Until someone wills his teams to multiple back to back championships their won’t be anyone in discussion. If Bron is a possible GOAT so is Durant, and Rose, and Wade. So, no.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Bron’s done more at the same age then Jordan did. So i guess it depends on your dfinition of “better”

  • burnt_chicken

    maybe I need to reword in a way that the jeremys of the world can understand: I am not doubting that Lebron is the greatest talent Cleveland has ever had. I easily concede that. But Cavs fans certainly remember Mr Top-50-AllTime ACC, 1st overall pick, community-spirited, Grant Hill nice, and CAREER Cav Brad Daugherty in a different–and I would say better–way than they remember LeBron. When I think of ‘Greatest Cavalier’, I think of the player that impacted the fans of that franchise in the best possible way. Not ‘most talented Cavalier’, ok? Not that. And hands down, jeremy, Brad kills LeBron when viewed through this lens.

  • burnt_chicken

    ugh. I sound like a Cavs troll fan. And I’m not! A Cavs fan, that is…

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    LeBron brought cleveland it’s only MVP awards. It’s only trip to the finals. THe most all-star births. The all-time leading scorer for the team. The best Cav is unquestionably LeBron. TO argue otherwise is straight up hating. Be it sentimental reasons or whatever.

  • Da-Meat-Hook

    Vince Carter is by far the most hated player in the history of the Raptors franchise. He was also ranked #1 in their “Top 20 Raptors of All Time” . . . local charity work and being respected in the community is great . . . but REAL fans know the deal.

  • http://shinefluid@aol.com yada

    clevelad was the center of the NBA and basketball world for 7 years!! cmon man gotta give bron that

  • jake

    Yada, I’m pretty sure LA and NY are the centers of the bball world…and always have been.

  • Da-Meat-Hook

    Jake, the Knicks were COMPLETELY irrelevant during bron’s time in clev. They weren’t talked about in basketball circles unless the topic of discussion was underachievement and failure. Yada’s right, bron single-handedly put clev back on the map.

  • robb

    @burnt_chicken the player that impacted the fans of that franchise in the best possible way was Lebron, no question. It would be terribly unfair not to acknowledge it. I know the “decision” was poorly handled but Lebron was and still is the best thing that ever happened to Cleveland and he should have his jersey retired there when he retires.

  • burnt_chicken

    I have no sentimentality for Daugherty, or any other Cav. I just think that LeBron made a lot of “REAL” Cavs fans very bitter, and I wonder if that counts for something in comparison to a talented player with a much more ‘loyal’ career arc for the franchise. I think that judging any comment that differs from the definitive statement in yours as “hating” is a fairly closed minded, small, and easy approach that does not really debate the point in any kind of intelligent way. And in truth, it is a bit of a know-it-all device, right? Everything is questionable/debateable. To take a different position than someone-even nbk!-does not make you a “hater”. It adds to the discourse. WHICH IS A GOOD THING. Also: to insinuate that I am anything less than a REAL fan is absolutely laughable.

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    Daugherty had an 8 year career. He also played in the early 90′s when free agency was insignificant. Especially for big time players. Comparing their careers as Cavs by how they ended it is an emotional response. In other words, a form of hating.

  • robb

    @burnt_chicken I kinda get what you say. Daugherty is like the loyal girlfriend who supported you, who was always there for you and you thank her with all your heart, but Lebron is like the super hot girlfriend who promised to make you the happiest man in the word but then she left and completely destroyed you, and you hate her for that, yet when you were together , you never felt more alive. She hurt you so much, but at the same time she gave you some of the best and most intense moments of your life.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Nice Robb. Nice.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Robb needs a Pause.

  • IDOT

    Its gone be the Decision Part 2 in 2018 smh

  • robb

    @Allenp lol c’mon Im just a bit sentimental today

  • Da-Meat_Hook

    burnt_chicken, let’s review your points: “Mr. Top 50 ACC All time” (his collegiate career should have no impact on how his franchise views him), “#1 pick” (since when does being drafted high reflect your professional greatness), “Grant hill nice” and respected in the community (I don’t see the correlation between humanitarian work and meaningful basketball-related merit). I think you’re mixing up MVP trophies with “NBA Cares” awards.

  • http://slamonline.com. datkid

    lebron is far better than brad dougherty. that isn’t even a question. yes he angered the fans. He’s still the greatest cavalier ever.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/officerbarbrady what

    The Knicks are still irrelevant.

  • http://slamonline BossTerry

    No Mark Price love?

  • neaorin

    yeah Mark Price was the best Cavs player before LeBron, not Daugherty.

  • Justin G.

    Of course he’s the best Cavalier ever. How this is even a discussion is beyond me.
    And the MJ vs Lebron at age 27 isn’t as far off as you think. Yes, Lebron got to more Finals but looking at a lot of their statistics…I mean, at age 25 Lebron had already played in 204 more games than MJ at the same point. In fact, at age 27…

    MJ – 33.6
    LBJ- 26.7

    MJ – 6.3
    LBJ- 7.0

    MJ – 6.9
    LBJ- 7.5

    I’m not a big stats guy like a lot of you but when you look at it from this standpoint Lebron really isn’t better at the same age. Counting overall at the same point, Jordan had 3 scoring titles, a DPOY, an MVP (Lebron has 2) and 4 All Star Games. Lebron is on 6 ASGs but he has also been in the league for more years than MJ at that point.

    Also, Lebron HAS seen it all…except a title win. Well, he’s seen them but only while watching the other team

  • Justin G.

    Also, this is the time that Jordan had really started getting the NBA noticed on a national scale. Obviously the NBA marketing machine helped but with Jordan doing everything he was doing on a nightly basis he was the catalyst of it all. I think that has to be included in the “who has done more” discussion