“He Was Their Michael Jordan”: How Lakers Teammate Rojan Rondo Helped LeBron James Be a Better Leader

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After going through an embarrassing slump, the Los Angeles Lakers made progress and signed LeBron James in 2018. The spectacular move brought the King to Los Angeles. The franchise signed another great basketball player during the 2018 offseason. His name was Rajon Rondo, and he also happens to be the sixth player with the most assists in NBA playoff history. 

Rondo and James arrived together and struck the right chord from Day 1. As can be seen right now, these two veterans are an integral part of the Lakers’ roster. The reason behind the team wanting LeBron was pretty simple; they needed a powerhouse who could carry the team on his back similar to what Kobe Bryant did for twenty long years. 

But what about Rondo? The Lakers swooped in and signed him from the Pelicans to bring in more experience to the roster. In a recent piece published by ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan, the author depicted a solid reason as to why the purple and gold pursued Rondo and what he brought to the table.

Los Angeles Lakers guard Rajon Rondo at the 2020 NBA Playoffs
Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

“The Lakers cited Rondo’s IQ when they signed him, then quickly learned his willingness to challenge the best was an unexpected bonus,” MacMullan wrote. Moreover, she revealed an interesting detail about how Rajon Rondo helped LeBron James tweak his body language to aid the youngsters in the team. 

How Rajon Rondo helped LeBron James inspire his teammates

Over the years, LeBron has stood tall as the best player no matter where he goes. He’s proved it with the Cavs and with Miami as well. Now, LBJ has taken up the new challenge of guiding the Lakers to their first-ever championship since 2010. 

LeBron’s first year ended in a bitter manner. He missed entering the playoffs for the first time since 2005. But now, the King is locked in on winning the title. LeBron has certainly tweaked his leadership skills since his initial days with the team.

Los Angeles Lakers foward LeBron James
Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Amid a frustrating 2018-19 season, Rondo noted James souring on the young players and immediately confronted him,” MacMullan wrote. She further wrote that Rondo said, “I tried to get [James] to focus on his body language. Those young guys were looking at everything he did. If they missed four shots in a row and LeBron was making a face, it was crushing to them. He was their Michael Jordan. They didn’t want to let him down. But if LeBron said one thing positive to Brandon Ingram or Kyle Kuzma, they immediately were back to their old selves.”

A lot of positives have been seen from the Lakers’ youngsters this season. Alex Caruso has notably been a vital bench player, similar to Kyle Kuzma’s role. LeBron James is constantly backing his team’s youngsters to give them more confidence, and the results are visibly adding a positive impact as well. 

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