Cavaliers Assistant Coach Phil Handy Reveals What LeBron James Is Like Behind The Scenes

From singing to dancing, James "is a hilarious cat," Phil Handy says

Taz and the Moose
October 30, 2018 - 11:01 am

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When LeBron James returned to Cleveland in 2014, Cavs assistant coach Phil Handy didn’t know what to expect. He didn’t know James very well and only had an outside perspective of him.

That changed. Quickly.

“Dude is a clown,” Handy said on Taz & The Moose, laughing. “A bonafide clown, man. He is a hilarious cat. He dances. He can’t sing, but he sings quite a bit. He’s always dancing and joking.”

Handy did not expect that.

“Oh, man, this dude will come in and jam at 7 o’clock in the morning, screaming and running around and acting like it’s 3 o’clock in the afternoon,” Handy said. “Everybody else is looking at him, like, ‘Bron, what are you doing, man?’ I was a little surprised by that one, just how much of a clown he is. But it’s good because it keep everything fresh. Even after bad losses, he always kind of came in opposite of what I might have expected the next day.”

The Cavaliers enjoyed quite the ride with James, advancing to four consecutive NBA Finals and beating the 73-win Warriors for the NBA title in 2016. Once again, though, they'll have to navigate life without him, as James signed with the Lakers in free agency.

“I really think this was more about his family than himself in terms of what’s next,” Handy said. “Bron wasn’t a guy that ever complained about Cleveland or this, that or the other. He clocked in every day and he got the job done. So just from what I know of him, what I see, I really think this was more about his family than anything else.”

Handy was asked what advice he would give Lakers coach Luke Walton as he prepares to coach the best player on the planet.

“Be Luke,” Handy said. “That’s the main thing. T-Lue was himself. David Blatt was himself. I think just being yourself and coaching. A lot of people think Bron was coaching the Cavs. No, he’s locked in, man. He’s locked in with his coach. It’s a collaboration. I think any good coach knows how to have a good mix with their players in terms of, ‘Hey, what do you see on the floor? What’s going on out there?’ LeBron is one of those guys, his basketball IQ is through the roof. Luke’s a smart guy. He’s had chance to coach some high-level guys at Golden State. I think Luke is just going to be himself, and him and Bron are going to naturally organically figure out that relationship and how to maximize what they’re trying to do now.”