It seems like it was just yesterday that LeBron James burst onto the scene as a high school kid at St. Vincent-St. Mary. Barely old enough to drive, LeBron was playing on ESPN and appearing on the cover of Sports Illustrated with the headline of “The Chosen One.” He certainly lived up to that billing as he’s arguably the greatest player of his generation and shows no signs of slowing down. It is hard to believe but LeBron will be entering his 15th season this fall and possibly his last with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
But before we jump ahead to the future, let’s look back at the past. Over his 14 seasons in the NBA LeBron has played with 132 different teammates with both the Cavaliers and the Miami Heat. Some of those have been some of the best players in the league such as Dwyane Wade, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love. Others have been solid role players that every team needs to win a title such as Shane Battier and Mike Miller. But a good majority of them have been the types of players that would make your hairline recede over years.
We’ll take a look back at some of these players during the time when they were LeBron’s teammates. This list takes into account the players while they teamed with LeBron and the entirety of their careers. Thus, players like Shaq and Ben Wallace are spared from appearing on this list even though they were washed-up when they played with LeBron. This trip down memory lane should make you appreciate LeBron’s success even more considering some of the guys he played with. Here are the 15 worst teammates of LeBron James and what they are up to now after having their time playing with The King.
15 Kendrick Perkins
If you blinked, you might have missed Kendrick “Swamp Thang” Perkins’ tenure in Cleveland. After batting LeBron for years as a member of the Boston Celtics and OKC Thunder, Perkins joined the Cavs for the final two months of the 2014-15 season. He was his usual mean-mugging self but he didn’t contribute much as he had more combined turnovers and fouls than he had points scored. Hopefully Perk just rented in Cleveland instead of buying as he lasted 17 games with the Cavs before being waived. After spending a season (riding the bench) in New Orleans, Perkins was not signed by a team last season. He says he’s staying in shape and is attempting a comeback but for someone who wasn’t that good at the age of 23, I doubt his phone will be ringing off the hook at the age of 33.
14 Sasha Pavlovic
Anytime a Cavs fan bemoans the fact that JR Smith has started three straight years at shooting guard for the team; kindly remind that fan that Sasha Pavlovic was the starting 2-guard when LeBron made his first Finals in 2007. The Serbian swingman spent five years as LeBron’s teammate in Cleveland and never averaged double-figures even once. Apart from Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Anderson Varejao, Pavlovic spent more years as LeBron’s teammate with the Cavs than anyone else.
Pavlovic was traded from Cleveland in 2009 in a deal that brought a then-400 pound Shaq to the Cavs. He bounced around with five NBA teams after leaving Cleveland and never started another playoff game in his career. He then went back to his home country of Serbia in 2014 to play professionally before ending his career in Greece the following season. Cavs fans should have a renewed appreciation for JR Smith after reminiscing about Pavlovic.
13 Delonte West
While we wouldn't be one to call Delonte West a bad player during his time with the Cavs, he sure caused a lot of distractions. Among one of the more disturbing rumors in NBA history, it was alleged that West actually hooked up with LeBron's mother Gloria. It was said to have been the reason why LeBron's game went south in the 2010 playoffs prior to his departure for Miami that summer. These days, Delonte unfortunately has had a tough time financially. In early 2016, Delonte revealed that he was struggling in response to a fan on Twitter, a post that has since been deleted: "I used to be [Delonte West], but I'm not about that life anymore.” That fan went on to write about the incident on social media, joking that “bro had hospital robe on like he escaped from the psych ward or some s***. I asked wat happened and he said life.......d***!”
Given that West suffers from bipolar disorder, we certainly hope he's been doing better since that time.
12 Dexter Pittman
A wide-body in the mold of Glen “Big Baby” Davis, Pittman also rode the coattails of some all-time greats to nab an NBA championship. He played parts of 3 seasons with LeBron in Miami and was the 15th man on the roster in 2012 when the Heat defeated OKC for the title. When the only thing anyone remembers about your pro career is a flagrant foul you gave to Lance Stephenson, that says a lot about your accomplishments on the court. But Pittman did his job by chucking “Born Ready” after Stephenson had given the choke sign in a previous game. Pittman would be suspended 3three games for that hit which is the same number of games he played in the entirety of the playoffs. After leaving Miami in 2013, Pittman played just 9 more NBA games and has spent the last four years in the D-League and playing overseas. Still, he has more rings than Barkley, Ewing, Malone, Stockton, and Carmelo combined.
11 A.J. Price
College basketball fans best remember Price for his time as UCONN’s starting point guard in the late 2000s. But it wasn’t his play on the court that stood out but rather an act off the court. He was suspended his entire freshman year after being arrested for trying to sell stolen laptops. Stealing them just wasn’t enough as trying to sell them landed him a felony charge of larceny. He was somehow able to overcome that and was drafted by the Pacers in 2009. After three years in Indiana and then bouncing around with a couple of other teams, Price joined the Cavs in the 2014-15 season. After shooting just 27% in 11 games, Price wasn’t worth his price and was cut once the Cavs traded for Timofey Mozgov. After one last 10-day contract with the Suns, Price took his talents to the Chinese Basketball Association.
10 Dajuan Wagner
Perhaps the only person who can empathize with LeBron James in terms of notoriety while in high school; Wagner scored more points in New Jersey high school history than anyone. He then went to the University of Memphis where he became John Calipari’s first one-and-done before becoming the 6th pick in the 2002 draft by the Cavs. Wagner didn’t have success in the pros that he had as an amateur as a variety of injuries hampered his progress. He was supposed to be the Robin to LeBron’s Batman but Wagner would only start 4 games alongside LeBron during their two years as teammates. In 2005 Wagner was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis and had surgery to remove half his colon. He would miss that entire season and would only play one more game in the NBA. His NBA career would be over at the age of 23 but he remains one of the two-dozen people on this planet who have scored 100 points in a high school game.
9 Jason Kapono
If basketball consisted of shooting and only shooting; then Kapono would be one of the greatest players of all-time. He was a lights-out 3P shooter and ranks 5th all-time in three-point percentage. However, he brought nothing else to the table which is why he lasted just one season in Cleveland. He was in the 2003 draft class with LeBron but instead of being the first overall pick, Kapono was the first pick of the second round by the Cavs. The team didn’t see enough from Kapono to think he warranted a long-term commitment so he was left unprotected in the 2004 expansion draft and selected by the fledgling Charlotte Bobcats.
The high point of Kapono’s career is undoubtedly winning a title with the Miami Heat in 2006 (unless you favor his two Three-Point Shootout wins). He played for 6 teams in 9 seasons and wrapped up his career with the Lakers in 2012. Thus, Kapono could appear on a list of the worst LeBron teammates and the worst Kobe teammates! As for what he's up to now, Kapono's been pretty quiet since announcing his retirement in 2014, but he did put his California mansion up for sale in 2016.
8 Sebastian Telfair
In August 2002 17-year-old high school phenoms LeBron James and Sebastian Telfair appeared together on the cover of Slam Magazine. The caption underneath the two was “Sebastian Telfair & LeBron James are about to rule the world. Imagine that.” Well, Slam Magazine was half right as they were spot on about LeBron while Telfair turned into one of the biggest prep-to-pro busts in the NBA. Bassy was the definition of a journeyman as he never started more than 51 games in a season and played for 8 teams in 10 seasons. He played fewer games with LeBron than anyone on this list as he had just 4 games with the King in his final season in Cleveland before departing to Miami.
The lack of success Telfair had on the court pales in comparison to the issues he’s had off the court including twice being arrested for possession of a handgun in his vehicle. Still just 32 years old, Telfair has followed in his cousin Stephon Marbury’s footsteps, not by getting a head tattoo, but by taking his talents to Asia and the Chinese Basketball Association.
7 Michael Beasley
Along with Greg Oden, B-Easy was the other big-time college star that the Miami Heat signed as they went for a three-peat in the 2013-14 season. Miami would fall short of winning their third straight title and Beasley would fall short of expectations in his second go-round in Miami. He averaged 7.9 PPG which remains the lowest amount in his 9-year NBA career. Beasley has all of the (offensive) talent in the world but has never seemed to put it all together like he did in his lone season at Kansas State. In addition to being inconsistent on the court, he’s also had run-ins with the law off the court. In 2008 he checked into rehab after unknowingly posting a picture of himself onto social media with marijuana in the background. He was also cited for having marijuana in his vehicle in 2011 and arrested for possession of weed in 2013.
For someone whose NBA career is hanging by a thread, one more slip-up off the court could spell the end of Beasley’s pro career in the United States.
6 DeSagana Diop
Born in Senegal, Diop migrated to the US as a kid and went to the famed Oak Hill Academy High School in Virginia. After leading Oak Hill to the #1 ranking in the country, Diop skipped college and went straight to the NBA where he was selected 8th overall by the Cavs in 2001. Two years later the Cavs would have a bit more success in drafting a player straight out of high school as Diop would only last two seasons as LeBron’s teammate. In 193 games with the Cavs, the defensive-first Diop reached double digits in scoring all of 1 time. His calling call was clearly defense and that enabled him to stick in the NBA for 12 years and accumulate over $47 million in earnings. After retiring in 2013 Diop segued into coaching and is now on the staff of the Utah Jazz.
5 Chris Mihm
In high school Mihm played tennis against Andy Roddick and was a basketball teammate of Drew Brees. In college Mihm was an All-American at Texas and set the Big 12’s all-time blocked shots record. He should have just retired then and there as it was all downhill once he reached the NBA. Mihm was the #7 overall pick in 2000 and played three-and-a-half years with the Cavs. He spent 22 games alongside LeBron in his rookie season before being shipped to Boston.
After finishing out the year with the Celtics Mihm then signed with the Lakers with their fans thinking he was the perfect center for Phil Jackson’s Triangle Offense. Mihm had an uneventful four years in LA which was a microcosm for his entire pro career.
Mihm retired from basketball in 2009 and finished his degree at Texas, majoring in Psychology and Communications. While returning to school, he helped out with the men's basketball program.
4 Dahntay Jones
Of everyone on this list, Jones is the most recent teammate of LeBron and there’s a good chance he’ll hear his phone ringing again come April 2018. Many forget that Jones is more than just a cheap-shot artist as he was one those Duke teams earlier this decade along with Jay Williams, Carlos Boozer, and JJ Redick. Jones has somehow lasted 13 years in the NBA as a shooting guard without a jump shot. That goes to show you that not every player on a roster is there for his basketball skills; some are just there to get under the skin of the opponents.
In each of the past two seasons, Jones has signed with the Cavs on the last day of the regular season and has played in just one regular season game in each season. In fact, over the last two years Jones has more technicals + flagrants than he has games played! With James Jones likely to retire, Dahntay looks like he’s in the driver seat to become LeBron’s new lackey and join him on whatever team LeBron plays on.
3 Jamario Moon
Moon first made a name for himself as a 27-year-old rookie with the Raptors in 2007 and joined the Cavs in 2009. He didn’t make his NBA debut until his later 20s because he was playing in leagues all around the world, many of which are now defunct. He played for everything from the USBL to the WBA to the Harlem Globetrotters to various D-League teams. Moon could jump to the moon but had little other NBA skills and after one-and-a-half years of catching lobs from LeBron, and nothing else, the Cavs shipped him to the Clippers in 2011. Moon did, however, provide more to the Cavs than one would think as his trade to LA netted a draft pick in return for the Cavs and that pick would end up being Kyrie Irving.
After leaving Cleveland in 2011, Moon came back down to earth and played in just 27 more games in the NBA before going back on the route of obscure and international basketball leagues. He last played for the Indios de Mayaguez in Puerto Rico in 2016 and appears to have hung up his sneakers since then.
2 Josh Harrellson
Josh “Jorts” Harrellson got his nickname for his fashion choice while at the University of Kentucky. If you’ve never seen a 6’10” 275 lbs man in jorts then consider yourself luckier than many Wildcats students. Jorts played with the Knicks as a rookie before joining the Miami Heat for the 2012-13 season where he was supposed to provide outside shooting from the center position. But Harrellson lasted all of 6 games and 31 minutes before the team decided it had seen enough and cut him. It turned out to be the right decision for Miami as they then signed Chris “Birdman” Andersen with their open roster spot and he became a valuable contributor for their championship-winning team. Jorts played one more season in the NBA before then playing for leagues in China, Puerto Rico, and Latvia.
In 2016 he then headed to Japan and played for the Japan Professional Basketball League which didn’t even exist a year earlier. Needless to say, we won’t be seeing Jorts back in the NBA anytime soon.
1 Ricky Davis
Long before there was JR Smith, JaVale McGee, or Nick Young; Ricky Davis was the NBA’s knucklehead he had a penchant for saying or doing the wrong things. In his second season with the Cavs he became infamous for throwing the ball off of his own rim in an effort to secure a 10th rebound for a triple double (it didn’t count). That occurred during the 2002-03 season in which Davis led the Cavs with 20 PPG and just a few months later the team drafted LeBron first overall. In a quote that perfectly sums up Davis’ inflated view of himself, he said this about LeBron: "I thought LeBron James was just going to be another addition to help me score.” LeBron James ended up being the one who helped usher Davis out of town as the Cavs traded him after just 22 games playing alongside LeBron. Davis would go on to play 6 more seasons in the NBA, then did a tour overseas before joining the D-League as a 34-year-old. After not playing since the 2014 season, Jones entered his name into Ice Cube’s new 3-on-3 league where he was drafted by the Ghost Ballers. Now Davis can chase triple doubles without repercussion.