LeBron James set leadership tone with players-only meeting at start of training camp

Frank Victores / USA Today Sports

After four seasons away, LeBron James has returned to the Cleveland Cavaliers a more mature player and leader.

That was apparent to his new Cavaliers teammates from day one, when James delayed head coach David Blatt's first practice to hold a players-only meeting. For half an hour before the team hit the floor for the first time, James laid out his vision for the season, what he needs from each teammate, and what they can expect this season.

"I was looking like, 'Wow.' That's crazy that he broke down every individual thing he wants guys to do," Dion Waiters told Yahoo Sports. "He wrote down every player from the guy in training camp who may be here or may not be here.

"It was unbelievable. It was great."

While James wasn't necessarily a poor leader last time he was in Cleveland, he was still green as far as NBA superstars go. Anderson Varejao, the lone holdover from James' last Cavaliers squad, has noticed a shift in James' approach.

"Back then, I'm not saying he was a bad leader, but he had some ups and downs with that," Varejao said. "He used to talk individually to the players before, but not like that."

For his part, Blatt doesn't seem to mind his first session being delayed some. A rookie behind an NBA bench, Blatt getting strong leadership from the league's best player will only make his job easier.

"From Day One, LeBron has taken it upon himself to lead the team in voice and example," Blatt said. "LeBron talks the talk, but he walks the walk. That's what you want from your leader."

James' leadership will get tested as the season opens, but he's been through just about everything short of major injury the last four seasons. His Miami Heat started cold in year one and lost in their first attempt at a title, and so James should be able to lend perspective if things don't come together immediately.

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LeBron James set leadership tone with players-only meeting at start of training camp
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