Stephen A.: LeBron James Played Video Game During Pat Riley's FA Pitch in 2014May 6, 2019
In the summer of 2014, Miami Heat president Pat Riley took a trip out to Las Vegas in an effort to convince LeBron James to re-sign with the organization during his free agency.
James, of course, returned to the Cleveland Cavaliers instead. And Stephen A. Smith said on ESPN's First Take Monday that James wasn't exactly fully engaged during his meeting with Riley:
"I'll tell you a story that resonates far deeper than that, Jay [Williams]. Not only did Pat Riley come out to Vegas, but literally, while Pat Riley was there to come and talk to LeBron in Vegas, LeBron was playing some Nintendo game, or PlayStation, or whatever the hell that he was playing and it was considered so disrespectful that Alonzo Mourning, from what I was told, had to step in the fray and say, 'Yo, you are not going to disrespect this man like that.' That's how bad it was."
Smith brought up the story during a conversation about Magic Johnson's departure. James said he had no indication Johnson was going to step down as the team's president and didn't receive any warning from him.
"Personally for me, I came here to be a part of the Lakers organization, having a conversation with Magic," James said on his HBO show, The Shop. "So it was just weird for him to just be like, 'I'm outta here,' and not even have no like, 'Hey 'Bron, kiss my ass, I'm gone.' It wasn't even that."
The conversation between Williams, Smith and Max Kellerman on First Take turned to whether James was perhaps getting a taste of his own medicine after reportedly not giving Riley the heads-up that he was going to return to Cleveland or Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert a heads-up either time he left that organization.
Regardless, James remains in Los Angeles in one of the biggest summers for the organization in a long time. The team is currently without a replacement for Johnson, a replacement for former head coach Luke Walton and without a second star to pair with James.
Will that star come via a trade? In free agency? Or will it not happen at all? And if it doesn't, will James remain committed to the Lakers or look to be traded to avoid a repeat of the disappointing 2018-19 season?
The answers will define the foreseeable future of the Lakers. And it's likely the current management will keep James a bit more in the loop than Johnson did regarding his departure.