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LeBron James, Anthony Davis say lack of jealousy smoothed partnership

LeBron James is taking his game to new heights in the NBA bubble during the playoffs and it's a moment from 2011 that still "burns" him to this day and provides motivation.

The Lakers have had elite duos in their past: Shaq and Kobe felt bigger than life, a volatile pairing of all-time talents and bigger egos. They won a lot — a three-peat. They also feuded a lot, and it took all the Zen wizardry of Phil Jackson to keep them together as long as they lasted.

The newest Lakers’ superstar duo is steps away from its first title after going up 1-0 on a banged-up Miami Heat team in the 2020 NBA Finals — but there is no feuding, no acrimony, no massive egos on display between LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

“We’re not jealous of each other. I think that’s the best thing,” LeBron said Thursday, on an off-day for the series. “In professional sports, you have guys that join forces to become alpha males. That’s what they call them. Two guys that have been dominant in a specific sport on their own respective teams, and they get together and they talk about how dominant they can be and they talk about this is going to be this and that. I believe jealousy creeps in a lot.

“And that is the absolute contrary of what we are. We know who we are. We know what we’re about. We want the best, seriously, every single day, both on and off the floor, for one another. We’re just not jealous of one another. I think that you align that with respect, I think the sky’s the limit.”

Davis was a dominant force in Game 1, scoring 34 points on one end of the court and blocking three shots on the other — Miami had no answer for him inside (especially with Bam Adebayo in foul trouble then injured). LeBron James “quietly” finished with 25 points, 13 rebounds, and nine assists, all while keeping his team focused.

That focus on one goal helps keep the jealousy at bay.

“Jealousy and envy has killed a lot of great things, not only in sports but in general,” LeBron said. “If you’re able to just throw that to the side and throw your egos to the side but continue to bring that confidence of what you’re trying to do of keeping the main thing the main thing — not saying it’s that easy, but for us it’s that easy when it comes to our relationship.”

“I think when you’ve got two guys who are very selfless and want to win as bad as both of us want to, the rest of it goes away and just takes care of itself,” Davis added. “Jealousy has never been a thing on our team from anyone.”

Anthony Davis and LeBron James both echoed that their relationship has reverberated throughout the team.

“Some guys on some teams are afraid to jump on the star player, and it’s everyone on our team,” Davis said. “Our team, a guy can tell a guy something, and we know it’s coming from a great place and we know it’s coming from a guy who wants to win.

“Me and Bron has always been able to communicate with each other about whatever it is on the floor, which I think helps us knowing that whatever he’s telling me is coming from a good place, knowing that he wants to win.”

With three more wins, Davis and LeBron will have won a title together.