Anthony Davis won’t back claims that suggest he and fellow Lakers star LeBron James lack a strong relationship.
Instead, Davis said in an interview with ESPN, he believes the pair have “one of the best relationships I think in the NBA as far as duos or teammates, regardless.”
“But they don’t see that,” Davis said in the outlet’s story published Friday, which detailed his return from a variety of injuries throughout his NBA career.
“They don’t see the stuff we do off the court and time we hang out with each other. They see on-court stuff.”
James also posted a video on Instagram early Saturday morning that showed a handshake and interaction between them — near the end of the Lakers’ victory against the Thunder on Friday — where both players appeared to crack a smile.
James, wearing street clothes and sunglasses in the video because of an injury, addressed his post to a “Non Believer.”
“YEAAAAAHHHH WOE!! We hear all the chatter going on behind our backs but then they wanna smile in our faces when they see us!!” James wrote, in part.
One of those observable moments between the pair that gained traction came Feb. 7, when James broke the NBA’s all-time leading scorer and Davis was seen sitting on the bench — as other teammates stood, jumped and celebrated around him.
When asked about his reaction a few days later, Davis said that it was nothing personal and “about the game” against the Thunder.
“I mean, we’re losing to the Oklahoma City Thunder, a game we needed,” Davis said. “And I was pissed off that we were losing. It’s that simple. … Everybody else is outside looking in, it’s their opinion. But I was pissed off that we were losing the game.”
But less than two weeks later, Fox Sports’ Colin Cowherd claimed that James was holding Davis “accountable,” as Davis was “pouting” and James wasn’t “happy with him.”
James and Davis have both tried to counter comments like Cowherd’s that question their relationship, though.
The Lakers (37-37) have won three consecutive games and returned to .500, and with eight games left, they hold the No. 8 spot in the Western Conference — positioned for the play-in tournament, unless they can catch, the Warriors (39-36), Suns (38-35) or Clippers (39-35).
James hasn’t played since Feb. 28 due to a right foot injury, but ESPN and The Athletic reported Thursday that the 38-year-old resumed on-court participation and could possibly return for the final games of the regular season.
James, though, refuted that reporting, tweeting that “I speak for myself!”
“There wasn’t an evaluation today and there hasn’t been any target date for my return,” James wrote on Twitter. “I’m just working around the clock, every day(3X a day) to give myself to best chance of coming back full strength whenever that is. God bless y’all sources.”