The current Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations spent three seasons with James in Cleveland.
David Griffin clarified his controversial comments about LeBron James in which the former general manager told Sports Illustrated's Jake Fischer he was "miserable" trying to construct championship rosters in Cleveland around the superstar during their time together with the Cavaliers. Griffin also said he didn't "think [James is] the same animal anymore about winning."
During an appearance on ESPN's "The Jump" on Friday, Griffin said the quotes were in reference to fears he had as a member of the Cavaliers front office after Cleveland won the 2016 NBA championship.
"I failed miserably in getting everyone to the right sense of urgency following the  championship," Griffin said. "My belief at that time was 'there's no way anyone can be born in Akron, Ohio, deliver the first championship in 52 years to Cleveland, Ohio and be the same human being. It's not possible. You're a person. You're a human being. And my fear at that time was that he wouldn't have that same animal-like desire to win."
He continued: "What we've seen obviously is that he's gone to multiple Finals since so it was an unfounded fear I had at the time. But the article doesn't give you the context that I was talking about that particular point in time."
Griffin was referencing the two NBA Finals that James brought the Cavaliers to following the team's 2016 title before leaving to sign with the Lakers.
Sources close to LeBron James told ESPN.com on Thursday night that the four-time MVP was "shocked" by the comments made by the now-Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations.
Griffin was the Cavaliers' general manager from 2014-2017 and spent three seasons in Cleveland with James.