Once upon a time, DeShawn Stevenson was LeBron James’ most bitter rival. The two faced off in the playoffs several times in the late-2000s, where things got almost extra tense. Years after the feud, Stevenson expressed regret for beefing with LeBron James.
The Stevenson and James feud reached its most tense moment in the 2008 NBA Playoffs. LeBron’s Cleveland Cavaliers met the Washington Wizards for the third straight time. It was already a heated rivalry then. On one play, Stevenson committed a flagrant foul on LeBron. Even hip-hop mogul and LeBron’s good friend Jay-Z released a diss track aimed at Stevenson.
In 2019, Stevenson revisited the beef. But this time, he did not harbor ill feelings towards James. Instead, the former Wizards guard expressed regret. He believes both of them shouldn’t have beefed in the first place.
“With all that stuff, it sucks because wherever I go, it feels like that’s what everybody reminds me about — this LeBron thing. You know, I got my name out there with that. Like, really out there, out there. But at the end of the day, as black men, we have to be, like, together and uplift each other. We both did the same things. So, you know, now that I look [back] as I’m older, it’s like basically, we was both making a fool of ourselves,” Stevenson said.
Stevenson has definitely matured since his tiff with James. It’s not common for NBA players — who are insanely competitive by nature — to sweep everything under the rug. Some feuds go on even up until the parties involved have retired.
Stevenson’s apology could be the result of his maturity. But it could also be because he got his revenge in 2011 when he was donning the Dallas Mavericks jersey. To recall, LeBron, playing for the Heat, met the Mavs in the 2011 NBA Finals.
The Mavs contained James to just 17.8 points per game in the NBA Finals. They threw different bodies and defensive packages at him. But it was Stevenson who mostly matched up with LeBron. Jason Kidd even praised Stevenson for doing a splendid job.
Whatever the case may be, the Stevenson-James feud is one for the books. Hopefully, people will look at it in a different light. It does not feature two men who hated each other’s guts. Rather, Stevenson and James were just pushing each other to play their best basketball.