ORLANDO (AFP) – LeBron James believes an absence of locker-room jealousy is the key to his successful partnership with Anthony Davis as the Los Angeles Lakers bear down on a record-equaling 17th NBA championship.
Davis joined the Lakers last year from the New Orleans Pelicans, and has played a crucial role in guiding the team back to the NBA Finals for the first time in 10 years after missing the playoffs in 2018-2019.
On Wednesday in the first game of the NBA Finals, Davis excelled with 34 points, nine rebounds and five assists as the Lakers demolished the Miami Heat 116-98 in a game-one blowout.
James, meanwhile, added 25 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists in a dominant performance against his former team to open the best-of-seven series.
The James-Davis double act has provided the Lakers with the team’s most potent axis since Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal were leading the team to three consecutive NBA titles between 2000 and 2002.
But while Bryant and O’Neal’s relationship was undercut with tension, James said his partnership with Davis couldn’t be more different.
“We’re not jealous of each other,” James said. “I think that’s the best thing. In professional sports, you have guys that join forces to become alpha males. Two guys that have been dominant in a specific sport on their own respective teams, and they get together and they talk about how dominant they can be.
“I believe jealousy creeps in a lot. And that is the absolute contrary of what we are. 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.”
Davis, 27, agreed, saying he had never once considered the possibility that locker room envy could destabilise the Lakers locker room.
“The thought never crossed my mind when the trade happened,” Davis said. “I’m not jealous of him. He’s not jealous of me.”