Of all the scenarios that could have played out this past summer, I’m willing to bet no one predicted that LeBron James and Lance Stephenson would be suiting up for the Los Angles Lakers this season.
James, sure, but Stephenson and James on the same team? That was, and still is, a strange fit. Not just a strange a fit from a basketball standpoint, but because of the history the two share.
During game five of the 2014 Easter Conference Finals, Stephenson did everything he could to get in James’ head and that, apparently, included blowing in to his ear. Since then, the two have bumped heads on the court, literally and figuratively.
In a recent interview with theScore, Stephenson recalled what was going through his head that fateful day that started it all.
“I was really trying to get him mad, really trying to win the game, trying get him unfocused. I would try anything. For you to do something and they don’t respond and they keep continuing and playing hard, it’s like, ‘What?’ I was just trying to find stuff. I don’t regret it, but it’s something I look at like, ‘Why did I do that? What made me do that?’ LeBron was such a good player, I was trying to do anything to get him frustrated.”
In Stephenson’s defense, it kind of worked. James would go on to end the game with just 7 points, the fewest he’s scored in a playoff game to date. However, it looks like it only worked for the one game, as James and the Miami Heat knocked Stephenson’s Indiana Pacers out the next game.
James also had the pleasure of knocking Stephenson’s Pacers out last season in a heated seven-game series in the first round of the NBA Playoffs. Unsurprisingly, there was some tension then too.
Now James and Stephenson will have to put their differences aside to try and win games together for the Lakers. It’s unclear where exactly Stephenson fits on the roster, but if one thing is for certain, he’ll be ruffling a few feathers this season. For his sake, let’s hope they aren’t James’.
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