Former NBA Star Says LeBron Would’ve Stayed in Cleveland If He Was About Winning Rings

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Antoine Walker thinks that LeBron James doesn’t care about winning championships anymore.

The former NBA star was on FS1’s “First Things First” on Thursday. During a discussion about James, Walker said that the four-time MVP would have stayed with the Cleveland Cavaliers if winning was his top priority.

James left the Cavs in the summer to join the Los Angeles Lakers.

“LeBron James is not about winning championships,” Walker said. “He showed you that when he went to L.A. If he wanted to win championships, you stay in Cleveland and you keep getting to the Finals to give yourself a chance you don’t get sitting at home. He went to L.A., he’s sitting at home.”

Walker, a three-time All-Star who retired in 2008, said that James’ decision to leave Cleveland was based on off-court opportunities.

“LeBron’s trying to be a billionaire athlete,” Walker said. “He’s not about playing. He wants his kids to go to Cali. Listen, if you wanna win and it’s about winning championships, I’m from the old school, you stay where you’re at, period. When Michael Jordan couldn’t win championships no more, he retired.”

There is some validity to Walker’s claims, as James left a team he took to four straight NBA Finals. In his first year with the Lakers, James missed the playoffs entirely for the first time since the 2004-05 season.

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Brady Klopfer is a basketball writer and editor based out of Los Angeles. His work can also be found at The Athletic, SB Nation, and Bballbreakdown.