‘You’re on life support when you get the job’: NBA legend delivers reality check on idea of coaching LeBron or K.D.

Jonathan Sherman
3 Min Read
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Many believe that an NBA head coach’s dream is to coach a superstar player like LeBron James or Kevin Durant. However, former NBA star, coach and front office figure Kevin McHale sees at least one drawback of being in such a position.

“I like ’em both as players, K.D. and LeBron, but man, I tell you what, if you’re coaching those guys, your life span’s not long, man,” he said. “You’re on life support when you get the job.”

McHale also seemingly expressed a belief that star players may think it’s easier to blame others after an unsuccessful season instead of trying make changes from within during the season.

“It just seems like it’s just easier for everybody to kinda not say anything and then just blame somebody,” he said.

As NBA fans know well, both Durant’s Phoenix Suns and James’ Los Angeles Lakers have already fired their head coaches who served during the 2023-24 season.

Both teams flamed out in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs, with the Suns getting swept by the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Lakers losing in five games to the Denver Nuggets.

Following the Suns’ exit from the playoffs, the team fired head coach Frank Vogel. The Lakers did the same to Darvin Ham following their exit from the postseason.

Ironically, Vogel has now been out of a job at the hands of both the Suns and Lakers. Vogel was the head coach of the Lakers starting in the 2019-20 campaign. The team went on to win the championship in the NBA bubble that season.

Reaching the mountaintop of the sport only bought him two more years of employment in L.A., however. He was replaced by Ham following the 2021-22 season.

When it comes to looking to the future, the Suns have already nabbed their new skipper. Veteran coach Mike Budenholzer was recently announced as the team’s new head coach. During his introductory press conference, he made it clear that he knows that the expectations are high.

“I’m excited about working with this roster and these players,” Budenholzer said. “We have great players. And with great players come great expectations. I think we embrace that.”

As for the Lakers, it’s looking increasingly likely that former NBA sharpshooter J.J. Redick could become the team’s next head coach, with a recent report indicating that the job is his to lose.

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Jonathan has worked as a sports writer covering NBA and NFL news since 2017. He's a fan of the Los Angeles Lakers and Minnesota Vikings.