David Griffin Clarified His ‘Unfounded Fear’ About LeBron’s Waning Desire To Win


Former Cleveland Cavaliers general manager and current New Orleans Pelicans executive David Griffin caused a bit of a firestorm on Thursday when he was the subject of a piece in Sports Illustrated. The story looked back on his time in charge of the Cavs as he’s preparing to take on the next chapter of his professional life, which is rebuilding the Pelicans with Zion Williamson in tow.

In the midst of the story, Griffin said something that made it sound like he didn’t believe LeBron James’ priority was on winning anymore. It, apparently, didn’t sit particularly well with James. On Friday afternoon, Griffin appeared on ESPN’s The Jump to add context to his quote, specifying that he meant he did not anticipate that James would be as engaged after winning a ring in Cleveland. Griffin admitted that, as James has gone on to show, that did not end up being the case.

“One of those things I took ownership while talking about this — and I have done show, I believe even on Woj’s pod — is that I failed miserably in getting everyone to the right sense of urgency following the championship,” Griffin said. “And my belief at that time was there’s no way anyone can be born in Akron, Ohio, deliver the first championship in 52 years to Cleveland, Ohio, and be the same human being. It’s not possible, you’re a person, you’re a human being. And my fear at that time was that he wouldn’t have that same animal-like desire to win. And what we’ve seen, obviously, is he’s gone to multiple Finals since, so it was an unfounded fear I had at the time.”

The quote makes a lot more sense when adding all of this context — Griffin taking a random swipe at James’ desire to win was a bit odd, as the two have a pretty good relationship. But between Griffin clarifying what he meant and admitting that his fears were off-base, we can probably put this saga to bed for now.