Even though LeBron James is one of the greatest basketball players and teammates in history, there is no denying it ain’t all sunshine and rainbows when playing with “The King.” It’s not about LeBron being tough to play with because his unbelievable basketball IQ and unselfishness will bring out the best in you. It is about the pressure, and standard everybody around you expects you to fulfill when playing on LeBron’s team. Udonis Haslem knows a lot about that.
Haslem played with LeBron during his 4-year tenure in South Beach and saw up and personal how demanding winning and greatness are. They built a great relationship, but that didn’t remove the fact Haslem and the rest of the supporting cast were under constant pressure. This is how Udonis described it in his interview with James Posey on “The Posecast”
“If you can handle LeBron coming to your team, it works out for you, and it can be successful. The problem is – everybody can’t handle it. When LeBron comes to your team, there’s winning expectations instantly. No waiting, no four or five-year process; there ain’t none of that. The pressure is on, and the fire is on your a**. If they don’t win, if y’all don’t win, he ain’t the one that’s going to be out of there; it’s you. That’s what a lot of people can’t handle.”Udonis Haslem, The Posecast
Haslem’s statement is a prime example of how playing alongside some of the greats has its pros and cons. On the one hand, you are getting the opportunity to play and learn from some of the best, but on the other end, if you are not performing, you will be scrutinized in the eyes of the media (and LeBron) and potentially without a job soon.
How many times have we heard the narrative of how LeBron needs help or LeBron can’t do it by himself when his team wasn’t performing well. Sure, “The King” gets a lot of blame, but his job and paycheck are safe at the end of the day. He will always stay, but the pieces around him constantly move and are ready to go if it helps the team win. That kind of environment and pressure is only suitable for certain types of players that thrive in pressure situations. But if you lack confidence in your abilities and ambition, you are better off playing somewhere else. Winning isn’t for everybody!