LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers have swept the first two rounds of the Eastern Conference playoffs, in part, due to James’ no-nonsense attitude and ability to take over a game at any given moment. But according to Memphis Grizzlies head coach David Fizdale who worked with James when he was an assistant coach for the Miami Heat, James also has a softer side – he makes sure to take care of the staff and players around him on and off the court.
During Fizdale’s eight years with the Heat, he helped James win two championships. He recently appeared as a guest on ESPN’s Mike & Mike and spoke about what James was like off the court when the world isn’t watching. According to Fizdale, James really does care about everyone from the head coach to the guy on the end of the bench.
One way James showed his appreciation was gifts.
“I don’t know how many times I came into the office and there was a gift on our desk from LeBron because he’d get so much free crap,” Fizdale said on the show. “I never got so many Christmas gifts in my life. He would do stuff like that for no reason. That was the part I will always remember about him, the things he would do for us.”
To illustrate his point, Fizdale told a story about when James gave him a role in a Samsung commercial as a wedding gift when he married his wife, Natasha.
“He put me in a commercial once as a wedding gift,” Fizdale said. “How about that? Because I said, ‘Don’t get me anything.’ Instead of him listening, he says, ‘Hey coach, why don’t you be in the Samsung commercial with me?’ You know, that’s a nice little check for an assistant coach. And [the card] says, ‘Hey man, congratulations on your wedding.’ ”
James hasn’t lost his generous touch since leaving Miami. In the Cavaliers’ Game 1 win over the Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference semifinals, James picked up Dahntay Jones’ $6,000 fine for two technical fouls and an ejection. James also has a reputation for being generous to the community around him. He’s donated $41 million in scholarships for students to attend the University of Akron.
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