Jamal Crawford recently made a guest appearance on the Club Shay Shay podcast, where he talked about his career and the current NBA. Unfortunately, Crawford is without a contract despite being ready and motivated to still play in the league, in which he spent almost two decades racking up an astonishing 19 thousand points. Crawford was 39 when he last played for the Phoenix Suns, so he completely understands what it takes to be in the NBA at that age while being productive yet alone be an MVP candidate. That is the main reason why Crawford has a lot of respect for LeBron James, who at the age of 36 was one of the leading MVP candidates.
Crawford has nothing but respect for LeBron and everything he’s done so far in his career, especially when you consider he’s in the MVP conversation and the Lakers were the top team in the west before both he and Anthony Davis got injured. For Crawford, the main thing that separates him from the rest is his basketball IQ, in which LeBron is often at least one step ahead of the competition.
Look at the expectations of LeBron. This dude was on the cover of Sports Illustrated as The Chosen One before he graduated high school. He exceeded expectations that nobody could succeed, and he did it 10 years ago. His brain, how smart he is as a basketball player, he is a savant. He is a chess player playing basketball.Jamal Crawford, via Club Shay Shay
When you play against someone for over 15 years, you get to know him as a player and even as a teammate if you end playing for the same squad. Crawford remembers one play during his Phoenix days in which he realized LeBron was playing basketball like chess and impacting the game like a true chess master, often a few steps ahead of his competition.
I was watching him when I was in Phoenix. He was playing with his brain before doing anything athletic. It was digital, and I saw everything moving in his brain first before he is moving the chess pieces where he wanted. He surpassed expectations 10 years ago; this dude is out of this world.Jamal Crawford, via Club Shay Shay
Despite being one of the best players in NBA history, and on top of that having a great image in public without any controversies, LeBron still receives a lot of hate from a significant percentage of fans. There are different reasons for that, and everyone has their personal preferences, but in Crawford’s opinion, people only hate the truly great ones. When you impact the game on such a level as LeBron did, especially in the last decade, you definitely deserve all the glory, but frequently with that comes jealousy and hate.
People don’t hate the good ones; people only hate the greats. He changed the landscape of the game, he changed the way it looks and feels. He changed so many things that people weren’t used to. He’s done it in such a way that you can’t do nothing about it. He is going from east to west, winning championships here and there.Jamal Crawford, via Club Shay Shay
Right before his injury, there were talks about LeBron being in the top 3 candidates for the MVP award this season, and rightfully so when you objectively take everything into account. Now the Lakers are in a much different position without LeBron and AD and don’t have enough firepower to go up against better teams in the NBA. In his 17th season, LeBron is averaging 25.4 points, 8 assists, and 8.5 rebounds per game, shooting 51 percent from the field. Pretty good for someone closer to their 40’s than the ’30s.