Coming out of St.Vincent - St. Mary High School, LeBron James was the most hyped basketball phenom we've ever seen. Zion Williamson might be the one who came closest to him in terms of matching James' pre-NBA pub but bear in mind, that was in '19. When LeBron was coming out, it was so much harder to get nationwide attention.
James was a lock for the number one pick in the draft, with scouting reports drawing comparisons to Magic Johnson. There wasn't a living soul who doubted guy's abilities on the court. The only questions about him were whether he was going to be able to stay focus and continue to improve. But him making an immediate impact in the NBA was never a question.
The whole NBA world was excited. Cleveland was excited. Everyone was excited - except the Cavs' players. Well, a few of them at least. Some of his new teammates expressed their doubts about a young high-school kid shaking up the NBA. Here's what they had to say.
LeBron is gonna add to what we need and just make things a little bit easier.
Ricky Davis had a careful approach when it came to James. Nothing sensationalistic. Just your average prediction, something we're not used to when it comes to the first overall pick. After only playing 22 games alongside LeBron, Davis was sent to Boston, as the Cavs build their franchise around their hometown kid.
He’s gonna come in and make an immediate impact like a Caron Butler did for the Miami Heat.
Kudos to Smush Parker, this was actually a relatively realistic prediction. LeBron ended up having a bigger impact than Butler did with the Heat, but I'm not mad with Parker's take. I guess he just couldn't recognize generational talent LeBron was.
We have better players than him at his position already on our team though. His potential is, probably, the sky’s the limit for him, though.
Now tell me Carlos, who was a better player than LeBron at the forward position? Ricky Davis? I don't think so. You were wrong on that one. Now, he did recognize James' potential, so hats of to him on that one. His scouting game was on point.
I don’t think you can just bring a high school player in and really just think your team is gonna turn around like that. If he comes, he can just hop on our bandwagon, and hopefully, we can do something big.
Hop on our bandwagon? Really Darius? I don't have to explain how off Miles was with his prediction. But then again, he was a small forward. He was trying everything in his power to undersell his competition. And let me tell you, it didn't work, as Miles was traded mid-season to the Trailblazers.
Looking back on it, LeBron got mixed reviews from his future teammates. Ones who hated on him did it purely out of jealousy. I don't see a better explanation for it. Some recognized his long term potential, but none of them believed a high school kid was going to make an immediate impact with their organization. Four years later, James led them to the NBA Finals. Was that immediate enough?