LeBron James says there’s a telltale way of knowing if a young player will succeed in the NBA

Jesse Cinquini
3 Min Read
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

According to Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, there’s a telltale way of knowing if a young player will ultimately see success in the NBA.

“Coaches and veterans being able to get on them and there’s no snickering, there’s no backtalk,” James said. “… They almost look like, ‘Just keep on coming with it. Because I want to see how much I can. Just keep on, keep on, because I’m absorbing everything.’ That’s when you know, oh, he’s going to be in this league for a long time.”

James has had the privilege of playing for some solid head coaches during his time in the NBA, including Erik Spoelstra, Tyronn Lue, Mike Brown and Frank Vogel just to name a few.

Darvin Ham — who is 50 years old and in his second season coaching the Lakers — is James’ current head coach.

Arguably the most accomplished coach that James has played for in the NBA is Spoelstra. He has earned a reputation as someone who often has a magic touch when it comes to developing young and underrated players, and he may know where James is coming from with his comments.

Since becoming the Heat’s head coach ahead of the 2008-09 season, Spoelstra has coached Miami to two NBA titles and six appearances in the NBA Finals, with the team’s most recent appearance in the championship series coming last season. The Heat lost to the Denver Nuggets in five games.

If all that James has accomplished during his time in the NBA is any indication, he has learned a lot from his head coaches over the years. His resume is one of the best in league history, as he has amassed 20 All-Star nods, 19 All-NBA selections, four MVP awards and four titles in a career that is still going strong despite him being 39 years old.

James is gunning for the fifth title of his NBA career this season, though in order to be in the running for the 2024 championship, the Lakers have to secure a spot in the playoffs first.

The Lakers are currently the No. 9 seed in the Western Conference, and with six games remaining on their regular-season schedule, they are 2.5 games behind the New Orleans Pelicans for the No. 6 seed. Hence, it’s likely that the team will have to win its way through the play-in tournament in order to punch its ticket to the playoffs.

Young players around the NBA could possibly benefit from heeding James’ words on the importance of listening to feedback and criticism in a positive light rather than a negative one.

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Jesse is a sports journalist with extensive experience covering the NBA. He has worked as a staff writer covering the Lakers’ dreaded rivals, the Boston Celtics, for SB Nation. He has also covered the New York Knicks for The Knicks Wall.