El Segundo — James Worthy was a superstar. His jersey hangs in the rafters at Staples Center alongside the other superstar players he payed with during the historic “Showtime” era for the Los Angeles Lakers, including Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Jamaal Wilkes.
It may come as no surprise, then, that Worthy isn't buying into the idea that other superstar players don’t want to play with arguably the league’s biggest superstar, LeBron James, in L.A.
“I don’t believe it,” Worthy told Silver Screen and Roll at Spectrum SportsNet’s bloggers night. “I don’t know who these people are. I heard the little Durant story and it made absolutely no sense to me. LeBron has played with Wade and Bosh, he’s gone back to Cleveland to play with some decent All-Star caliber players. His record is proven. I don’t believe that.
“Kobe I understood. At the end of his career, Kobe’s personality was a little different. He was tough. Kobe was tough, man. He was a winner, though, so I kind of got that but I don’t believe that with LeBron at all," Worthy continued. "Time will tell, but there’s no proof that that exists."
Worthy is, of course, referring to the comments Kevin Durant made earlier this month, when he told Rich Bucher of Bleacher Report that he understands why other All-Stars wouldn’t jump at the opportunity to play with James:
“So much hype comes from being around LeBron from other people,” Durant said. “He has so many fanboys in the media. Even the beat writers just fawn over him. I’m like, we’re playing basketball here, and it’s not even about basketball at certain points. So I get why anyone wouldn’t want to be in that environment because it’s toxic. Especially when the attention is bulls--t attention, fluff. It’s not LeBron’s fault at all; it’s just the fact you have so many groupies in the media that love to hang on every word. Just get out of the way and let us play basketball.”
It’s hard to refute that Durant's point, but it should be noted that the same could be said about any superstar in the league, including Durant himself and his teammate Steph Curry.
Didn’t we just get over a week’s worth of coverage on the scuffle between Durant and Draymond Green? Isn’t the biggest story in the NBA that Curry believes the moon landing was fake?
Big time players get big time media coverage, whether it’s in the armpit of Milwaukee or the bright lights of Los Angeles. LeBron James might make that spotlight a little brighter, but the payoff is a chance at an NBA championship.
That might be a problem to some players, but for the superstar players that don’t have a problem with a little extra attention, the Lakers have a spot for them.
You can follow this author on Twitter at @RadRivas.