Last few years, LeBron struggled to find superstars that wanted to team up with him. The main narrative is if the team wins, LeBron gets praise; if the team loses, LeBron’s teammates get the blame. This isn’t all on LeBron, but he isn’t a stranger of publicly showing up his teammates during a game. Shrugging shoulders, blank stares, theatrical gestures. A lot of players talk about the stress of missing an open three-pointer after a LeBron pass, and a lot of them play much better once they leave LeBron’s team.
Cedi Osman is not one of those players. Osman, a 31st second-round pick, came in the league as an energy guy. He was in a position to work hard and be ready for that one chance to prove his worth. That chance came on the Cavs during LeBron’s second stint in Cleveland. Talk about a high-pressure chance you can’t afford to miss. Osman impressed LeBron so much he was a part of his summer workouts even after LeBron left Cleveland. Unlike other players, Osman didn’t feel LeBron was particularly hard on teammates (via Uproxx):
“I never felt like [LeBron was a tough teammate],” Osman says. “It is a lot of people watching you, you’re playing with the best player in the world. It’s normal. That’s going to happen. If you’re making shots when they’re asking you, he gonna make you look good. He puts you in the right position, he finds you whenever you’re wide open. You just have to be ready to shoot because you never know when he’s going to pass to you because he sees everything. I was always ready for him to pass to me. I don’t think that he was caring about me making shots, though, I think he cared only about me playing hard. That’s what he liked about me. That’s how I earned that shot.”
Osman captures the source and context of LeBron’s frustration quite well. He does most of the work for you – draws in the defense, and if you are open, he will get you the ball. All that is left is for you to drain that open shot. But it’s more than that. If LeBron sees you paying hard and putting in the work (as he does), then a missed shot doesn’t cause (that much) drama.
Whatever you may think about this, you have to agree LeBron made a lot of people champions. A lot more than he may have limited with expectations he puts on his teammates.