If you watched last night’s Spurs game against the Lakers, one thing was a given: seemingly whatever three-point shot LeBron James took, no matter how off balance, difficult or contested, it usually went in. He hasn’t always been so willing to let it fly from deep, and afterwards he made sure to explain what — or who — made him a better three-point shooter.
That would be the Spurs, specifically the way the sagged off him in the 2007 Finals, forcing him to shoot over them.
“I just want to be able to not have any weaknesses, you know, and allow a defense to dictate what I do,” James told Spectrum Sports after the game. “Because of the Spurs, in a lot of my early years, [they are] part of the reason why my jump shot is a lot better today. My first Finals appearance in ‘07, they went under on everything and I didn’t shoot the ball, I wasn’t comfortable with shooting the ball at that point in time in my career. So I give a lot of thanks to their scheme, a lot of thanks to a lot of other teams that I went against.”
Although the Spurs have had some heated battles with LeBron over the years (and he’s not always the easiest guy to like), he always makes sure to give credit where it’s due, and he has certainly given the Spurs their fair share over the years.
It may not be thrilling in the moment to know the Spurs are possibly contributing to the rise of another Lakers dynasty, but it still goes to show just how far their overall positive impact on the league has spread, and there are few people who can advocate better for them than the best player in the world.