LeBron James has had plenty of coaches in his NBA career. Unlike Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, who both spent a lot of time with Phil Jackson, and unlike Tim Duncan, who spent a lot of time with Gregg Popovich, James has had many different head coaches on each of his teams. One, though, on the Cleveland Cavaliers, didn’t mind talking to him while being half-naked. That coach was David Blatt.
LeBron James has had many different coaches in his career
Throughout his career, LeBron James hasn’t had the luxury of having one Hall of Fame coach. James’ first coach in the NBA when the Cleveland Cavaliers selected him with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2003 NBA draft was Paul Silas. He then played under Brendan Malone for a short period during his first stint in Cleveland before playing for Mike Brown from 2005-06 through 2009-10.
When James went to the Miami Heat, he played under the same coach all four seasons, as Erik Spoelstra has been leading the Heat since 2008-09. However, when James returned to the Cavaliers in 2014-15 and played in Cleveland for four more seasons, he played under two head coaches while he was there, David Blatt and Tyronn Lue.
Not having stability at head coach has not negatively affected James by any means, though. He has still won four NBA championships with three different head coaches.
LeBron James once had an awkward encounter with David Blatt
James returned to the Cavaliers in 2014-15 after playing for the Miami Heat for four seasons. The first coach he had while he was back there was David Blatt.
They once had an awkward encounter too.
According to a 2016 article from GQ, Jason Lloyd reported in the Akron Beacon Journal that as James was leaving the locker room following a win over the Toronto Raptors, Blatt swung the door to his office open while only wearing a towel, and then called James over to him.
“C’mon Coach,” James said, according to GQ. “I can’t talk to you like this.”
James ended up talking to Blatt, though, and after they spoke to each other, James went toward Tristan Thompson and said: “That man was naked,” per GQ.
That’s a pretty humorous encounter. You always hear about players walking around locker rooms half-naked, but you never hear about coaches doing it.
Well — it probably has nothing to do with the encounter –but Blatt no longer coached James shortly after that.
David Blatt didn’t coach LeBron James for much longer
The Cavaliers’ win over the Toronto Raptors occurred on Jan. 4, 2016.
Blatt then got fired on Jan. 22, per ESPN. This was despite the fact that the team had a 30-11 record at that point in the season and that the Cavaliers went 53-29 under Blatt and reached the NBA Finals in the season prior.
It ended up working out for the Cavaliers, though. They finished the season 27-14 under Lue and reached the NBA Finals again. Then, after falling behind to the Golden State Warriors 3-1 in the 2016 Finals, the Cavaliers came back and won in seven games to win the franchise its first-ever championship.
Lue ended up coaching the Cavaliers through the 2017-18 season and into the 2018-19 season. They made two more NBA Finals appearances with him, too.
So, while Blatt’s weird encounter with LeBron James, most likely, had no impact on the Cavaliers’ decision to fire him, it was ultimately one of the last interactions Blatt had with James as his head coach.
Coaching history and stats courtesy of Basketball Reference