JaVale McGee has been known for many things over the course of his career. Early on, McGee's unfortunate tendency of having mental lapses on the court made him a target of TNT's "Shaqtin' A Fool" on their "Inside the NBA" program. This may have been slightly unfair to McGee, despite how funny they honestly were. These moments also belied the fact that McGee has always had incredible athletic ability. Check out this block from a decade ago. It almost qualifies as a steal!
Laker fans of course will always remember him as a big part of the Lakers 2019-2020 championship run. He was the starting center throughout the season, and his rim presence was a welcomed addition to the team.
Recently, McGee appeared on Club Shay Shay. (hosted by Shannon Sharp) Among the topics of discussion were playing with Steph Curry, preferring playing for the Lakers due to being able to start and get more big time minutes, to playing with LeBron James.
"I used to hear things like Bill Russell was a player coach one year, and I was like how are you a player coach? How is that a thing? But after going to the Lakers I understand how a player could be a player coach. Because not only playing the game, when LeBron plays the game he's thinking the game too. He's low-key thinking for two other players also. Like 'oh you need to be there, and you need to be there. If we're gonna win this series we need to change this.' And he's a major part of that. So I definitely think he's more of a player coach than just a player when it comes to the cerebral part of the game."
This goes along with what other players in the past have said about James. For a player so lauded for their court vision, it makes a lot of sense for James to have the foresight and presence of mind to help guide his teammates.
McGee will be playing on the Phoenix Suns for the 2021-2022 season, joining Devin Booker, Chris Paul, and company hoping to make it back to another NBA finals. Laker fans will hopefully always remember McGee as a large contributor to the Lakers 2020 championship.