LeBron James and Lance Stephenson have a long history of playing against each other with an antagonizing relationship, but it appears James actually recruited Stephenson to come join him in Los Angeles and play together on the same team.
In a press conference earlier this week, Pacers president Kevin Pritchard addressed Stephenson going to the Lakers. Even though he said there was an opportunity for Stephenson to come back, the organization understood why Stephenson wanted to leave. But he also revealed that James called the former Pacers guard to talk about playing with the Lakers.
“I think when LeBron calls you up and says, ‘I want you,’ it’s hard for him to turn that down,” Pritchard said, via the New York Post.
James and Stephenson's beef on the court dates back to 2012 when Stephenson made a chocking gesture directed at James after James missed a free throw, the Post notes, and the rivalry includes ear-blowing and trash talking.
The two have gotten into it on the court as recently as the 2018 playoffs when the Cavaliers faced the Pacers. James was given a technical foul for shoving Stephenson and went on to call him "dirty" during the opening-round series.
James opted out of the final year of his contract with the Cavaliers to join Los Angeles and the Lakers have since been making major changes to its roster, including the addition of Stephenson.