LeBron James has played alongside some great team-mates and potential Hall of Famers in Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Kevin Love in his 13 NBA seasons, but the Cleveland Cavaliers star holds someone else in the highest regard.
James has been idolized himself and compared to the great Michael Jordan, while the four-time MVP also played with Kobe Bryant on Team USA.
However, unheralded Cavs reserve James Jones, who has averaged just 5.5 points per game, is the player James holds in the highest regard.
“He’s my favourite player of all time,” James said via ESPN.
Jones, who has been James’ team-mate in Miami and Cleveland the past five seasons, has been a part of some of the 30-year-old’s most successful years in the NBA.
“I told J.J., as long as I’m playing, he’s going to be around,” James said.
“He’s not allowed to stop playing basketball. So, I’m going to make sure I got a roster spot for him. I love him. He’s the greatest teammate I’ve ever had.”
Referred to as a consummate professional, Jones – who also serves as the secretary-treasurer of the NBAPA – is also highly regarded by Love and J.R. Smith.
“I go to him with everything,” Love said. “Whether it’s the game, personal life, we talk about everything. He’s a guy, I’m always just picking his brain.”
Smith added: “If there is anybody to look up to as a veteran, it’s definitely [Jones].”