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Stephen A. Smith On Not Having A Good Relationship With LeBron James: “I Don’t Give A Damn”

Stephen A. Smith sheds some light on his relationship with LeBron James.    

ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith has a great relationship with many NBA players, but Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James isn’t one of them. Smith recently appeared on The OGs Show, where he spoke about his biggest issue with James.

“LeBron, I don’t have the greatest relationship with LeBron James,” Smith said. “I don’t give a damn about not having the greatest relationship with LeBron James, but I know he’s great.

“I know he’s a great father, a great family man, a great basketball ambassador, a great role model,” Smith continued. “I want him to get an ownership stake in the new Las Vegas franchise if the NBA decides to do an expansion franchise. I want all of that.

“You think I enjoy having to say, ‘Yo bro, you were scared to shoot in the fourth quarter of that Finals series against Dallas.’ I don’t enjoy it,” Smith stated. “We talk basketball, which is what used to piss me off about LeBron.

“The second you praise him, he’ll soak it all in,” Smith added. “You give him major props for what he accomplished, he’ll soak it all in. The second you criticize him, (it’s), ‘Well, you know, I’m just trying to be there for the kids and just trying to do what’s right for the community.’ And it pissed me off because that was a slick way of taking attention away from the basketball element and making it something other than basketball, which is what we were talking about.”

LeBron’s former teammate Udonis Haslem chuckled when Smith brought up how the 20-time All-Star would change the subject from basketball when criticized. It is indeed something I have noticed the 39-year-old do over the years as well. At the end of the day, no matter who you are or what you’ve been through, you can’t be above criticism.

That said, the criticism needs to be fair and Smith can be accused of being quite unfair at times over the years as well. The 56-year-old tends to go overboard now and then and it’s caused problems in his relationships with some of the biggest names in the NBA.

Stephen A. Smith Had Gone Off On LeBron James For His Comments On The Heat’s 2010-11 Roster

Smith brought up the NBA Finals against the Dallas Mavericks during that segment and earlier this year, LeBron had complained about the Miami Heat not having enough talent to win the 2011 NBA title. To say those comments didn’t go down too well with Stephen A. would be an understatement. Smith blasted LeBron for his take on the 2011 Heat roster.

“LeBron James, that is some straight bulls**t. You’ve gotta be kidding me. I know that you didn’t just say that with the cameras rolling. That’s bullsh*t. Somebody’s gotta say it.”

“You didn’t lose to the Mavericks because of your roster. You lost because of you. Because you aren’t who you are. The LeBron James who ultimately learned how to become a champion. The LeBron James whose resume elevated and changed forevermore, who showed us he can be a champion and reminded us again by winning back-to-back championships. Who ultimately overcame a 3-1 deficit and beat the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals. You were not that dude in 2011.”

“That was not about your roster, that was about you. Period. There’s no way around that. The roster didn’t stop you from averaging 25 throughout the season, getting to the Finals, and being up 2-1 in the Finals even when Dirk Nowitzki was scoring. What stopped you was that you were nowhere to be found in the fourth quarter. That’s not something we’ve ever had to say about Michael Jordan and that’s why you’re No. 2 on the Mount Rushmore.”

LeBron had acknowledged that he didn’t play well in that series, but it wasn’t a good look to complain about the roster. The Heat had more than enough talent to win that series and the only reason they didn’t, was that their best player played horribly.