LeBron says recruiting and his play are equally important

The key to the Los Angeles Lakers’ success falls on the shoulders of No. 23. LeBron James and the rest of the basketball world know it. And to make sure the Lakers can contend for an NBA championship in the next few years, James knows he has to be a recruiter off the court. He’s already in pursuit of helping the Lakers acquire top-notch players.

During a sit-down interview with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols that will air during halftime of the Warriors-Lakers game on ABC on Christmas Day, James said the role isn’t new to him.

“I’ve been trying to get guys to come play with me since, like, 2007. I’ve got rejected a lot. But I’ve also have not got rejected a lot,” James said. During James’ first tenure with the Cleveland Cavaliers, he tried to recruit Chris Bosh, Joe Johnson, Michael Redd and Ray Allen. Unfortunately for James, he couldn’t persuade them to join forces with him in Cleveland.

“A lot of people didn’t want to come to Cleveland, let me just throw that out there,” James told Nichols. “I tried to recruit so many guys to come to Cleveland, and we actually had — I had — a couple guys and it just didn’t work out.”

But when James took his talents to Miami in 2010 to team up with Dwyane Wade and Bosh, his success rate in recruiting players increased. James was able to lure in players like Mike Miller and Shane Battier.

“It wasn’t hard getting guys in Miami, I’ll tell you that,” he said. “So now that I think being in L.A., I don’t think it would be that hard to get guys here.”

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LeBron James takes the court as a Laker for the first time
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LeBron James takes the court as a Laker for the first time
Sep 30, 2018; San Diego, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) runs onto the court for the first time before a preseason game against the Denver Nuggets at Valley View Casino Center. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 30, 2018; San Diego, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) warms up before the game against the Denver Nuggets at Valley View Casino Center. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 30, 2018; San Diego, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) reacts after being called for a foul during the second quarter against the Denver Nuggets at Valley View Casino Center. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
SAN DIEGO, CA - SEPTEMBER 30: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers comes around a screen from Kyle Kuzma #0 during a preseason game against the Denver Nuggets at Valley View Casino Center on September 30, 2018 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Sep 30, 2018; San Diego, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) looks on during the first quarter against the Denver Nuggets at Valley View Casino Center. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
SAN DIEGO, CA - SEPTEMBER 30: LeBron James #23, Rajon Rondo #9, JaVale McGee #7 and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope #1 of the Los Angeles Lakers talk after a stop in play during a preseason game against the Denver Nuggets at Valley View Casino Center on September 30, 2018 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CA - SEPTEMBER 30: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers looks to pass in front of Will Barton #5 and Mason Plumlee #24 of the Denver Nuggets during a preseason game at Valley View Casino Center on September 30, 2018 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CA - SEPTEMBER 30: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles waits during a preseason game against the Denver Nuggets at Valley View Casino Center on September 30, 2018 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CA - SEPTEMBER 30: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts to his foul during a preseason game against the Denver Nuggets at Valley View Casino Center on September 30, 2018 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CA - SEPTEMBER 30: Shoes of LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers worn during a preseason game against the Denver Nuggets at Valley View Casino Center on September 30, 2018 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CA - SEPTEMBER 30: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles waits during a preseason game against the Denver Nuggets at Valley View Casino Center on September 30, 2018 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Sep 30, 2018; San Diego, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) speaks to the media following the game against the Denver Nuggets at Valley View Casino Center. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
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He’s already started his recruiting efforts as a Laker, saying it would “amazing” and “incredible” if the Lakers could land New Orleans Pelicans star Anthony Davis.

The Lakers have the fourth-best record in the Western Conference at 19-14. This team has some solid young players in Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma and Lonzo Ball. And while the Lakers are playing better than anyone expected, James wants to continue winning.

“But we got to win, and at the end of the day, it’s all about winning. You know, and that’s what I’m trying to do right now, is to show prospects and free agents — and at the same time, show these guys that I got right now — that we can win now, and let’s not worry about the future.”

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