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LeBron's Cleveland era, as told by former teammate Kevin Love

LeBron James, Kevin Love
LeBron James, Kevin Love
Posted at 12:39 PM, Feb 07, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-07 12:40:49-05

Kevin Love spent four seasons as a teammate in Cleveland with LeBron James, who is poised to become the NBA’s all-time leading scorer. A five-time All-Star, Love believes the 2016 title James won with the Cavaliers cemented his legacy as one of the game's greats. Cleveland overcame a 3-1 deficit in the Finals to beat Golden State for the city's first professional sports championship in 52 years. Love feels fortunate that his career intersected with James, who he credits for making him a better player, teammate and person. The following is Love's reflection on his time with James as told to The Associated Press.

Those years LeBron had here in Cleveland, capped by a winning a championship, cemented his legacy. Naturally, the first one he got in Miami was a weight off his shoulders. The back-to-back titles solidified him and the Heat. It showed they were a dynasty before we saw those guys out in San Francisco, that’s a real powerful team. I feel that, and I think he would say the same, that 2016, especially in the manner that we won, and against the 73-9 team we beat and him being from Akron, it was definitely the most important one for him.

What always impressed me about my time with LeBron is the precision of his life. He’s a man with a plan. He’s become larger than the game.

It will be very tough to eclipse or surpass him as a better face for the NBA and what he has meant for the league. He had all the pressure in the world on him and people were touting him and projecting him to be Jordan-esque or the next Jordan. The man has “Chosen One” tattooed across his back and he goes out and exceeds expectations. And at every juncture, every fork in the road, anything that came up — adversity, any lump that he took. People wanted to tear him down, buy he always found a way. Like he says, strive for greatness.

He's found a way to achieve a level of greatness that very few in this world have touched or seen. He’s on the Mount Rushmore of the greatest athletes of all time. And when you consider what he’s done away from basketball with the I Promise School or the people he has impacted over the course of his career or what he’ll do after basketball, it's a pretty incredible story about who he is and what he’s about.

It’s not just his body. It’s not just his process. It’s not just his intention. It’s his brain.”

I feel so fortunate my career intersected with LeBron's. Everybody that he touches, especially if you have that opportunity to be within his orbit or his gravitational pull, whether it’s covering him as a media member or me playing with him in very special years, especially here and because of what he means to Northeast Ohio, that is definitely something that is not lost on me.

For when it happened at the point it did in my life, it could not have been better for me. It really helped me grow up and become a man and understand sacrifice and become a better teammate while also allowing me to be my authentic self and unapologetically myself, 100%. As a fan, a friend, a teammate, to be part of the brotherhood, it’s special to have him be within our family. It’s pretty amazing.