Sources close to James told ESPN on Thursday they were “shocked” at Griffin’s characterization of the superstar.
Griffin and a person close to James spoke to each other after the SI story was published, sources told ESPN, and Griffin expressed that some context was missing behind his comments.
A source familiar with Griffin’s thinking said the Pelicans exec’s intention was to refer to the media machine surrounding James and simply acknowledge a byproduct of his immense celebrity, rather than blame James for creating the atmosphere.
I initially thought Griffin was referring to LeBron’s presence, not just LeBron’s actions. LeBron’s mere presence on a team naturally creates pressure and attention. It’s unavoidable and out of LeBron’s hands.
But I also think Griffin was referring to LeBron’s actions, too. LeBron can be passive-aggressive. He can cut corners while demanding others never do that. He can undermine coaches. LeBron’s deeds also create challenges.
Really, it seems Griffin’s problem was telling the truth about his experience with LeBron. Griffin, now running the Pelicans’ front office, probably doesn’t want the heat of publicly criticizing LeBron.
On the other hand, LeBron sounds only more motivated.