LeBron James tells Lakers team-mates to leave if they don't have the fight
A disgruntled LeBron James says if any of his Los Angeles Lakers are distracted by a push for the playoffs they should ask to leave the team.
James made history by becoming the only player to feature in the NBA's top-10 lists for points and assists as he finished with a triple-double of 24 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists in Monday's 110-105 loss at the Memphis Grizzlies.
But the all-time great was not in a celebratory mood following a second straight loss in their post All-Star break playoff push, undoing the good work of a comeback win against the Houston Rockets.
It means the Lakers are now 11th in the Western Conference and four games shy of the eighth-place San Antonio Spurs.
I literally have no words! I guess like @realcoleworld said “Even when the dark out, the sun is shining somewhere”. Throughout it all no matter good or bad appreciate the journey. Thank you to all who continue to take this journey with me. ️#thekidfromakron #striveforgreatness #jamesgang
The Lakers have endured a tumultuous season with injuries hitting the team and trade rumours never far from the headlines, but James says anyone who does not have the fight for the cause must leave.
In quotes reported by ESPN, he said: "At this point if you are still allowing distractions to affect the way you play, then this is the wrong franchise to be a part of and you should just come and be like, 'Listen, I don't [think this is for me]. I cannot do this'.
"Like, seriously, if you're distracted by playoff pushes out of all the stuff that's been talked about this year, nah.
"Just come and do your job. We do our job at a high level and that's not a distraction. That's what you want. That's what you want every game. You want to feel like you're fighting for something."
Another all-around display from the King. pic.twitter.com/HV4y1TlO95— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) February 26, 2019
However, James is keeping an optimistic outlook as he aims to avoid missing out on the playoffs for the first since the 2004-05 season.
"I just got to stay positive. Keep knocking on the door," he added.
"And I felt like if we play like we did tonight, then we got to continue that consistent effort, that will get us over the hump as we make this push."