LeBron James Credits High School Coach Keith Dambrot for His Toughness

"He kicked me out of practice and the last thing he said, ‘Best sophomore in the country, my a--.'"

Brandon Charles - Author

Apr. 5 2024, Published 9:56 a.m. ET

LeBron James jumping over JJ Redick in 2019
Source: Getty Images

Podcasting doesn't need more contributions from current and former athletes. Sure, the Kelce brothers' podcast is entertaining and The Draymond Green Show gives a glimpse into what’s going on right now in the NBA, but that’s about all of the really good shows hosted by current athletes.

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That list may have a new addition. With only three episodes currently available, the Mind The Game podcast with current NBA legend LeBron James and former NBA player JJ Redick is delivering some surprisingly good content. In the most recent episode, LeBron talks about a pretty interesting time in high school with his coach Keith Dambrot.

LeBron James in 2003
Source: Getty
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LeBron James's high school coach helped humble the future superstar.

LeBron's St. Vincent–St. Mary high school basketball coach Keith Dambrot made headlines recently for helping Duquesne win their first NCAA tournament win since 1969. This led to LeBron tweeting his joy over the win and sharing a story about Coach Dambrot on the Mind The Game podcast.

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When speaking about his high school coach on his new podcast, LeBron began, “The one thing that I learned from Coach D is that, ‘We are going to practice perfection every single day.' Every single day. He always used to tell us, ‘The practices are going to be way freaking harder than the games'…. He was super strict, super demanding.”

Those demands paid dividends. LeBron continued, "My sophomore year, the first practice, I came in as the projected number one player in the state of Ohio. I was projected to be an All-American as a sophomore, projected to be Mr. Basketball as a sophomore, which had never been done in Ohio high school history. And the first practice we had our sophomore year in the Winter State Championship, I did absolutely nothing wrong coming out of football."

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Apparently, he did something wrong according to his coach. "He kicked me out of practice. I had no idea why the f--k he kicked me out of practice. And I think he was just setting the tone for the season. ‘Wherever the f--k or wherever you think you are, I have heard of all this stuff of how great you are. Nope, I am gonna humble your a-- right now.’ He kicked me out of practice and the last thing he said, ‘Best sophomore in the country, my a--.'"

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While some athletes would have been discouraged by a hard-edged coach, it didn't deter LeBron. That aforementioned sophomore season the St. Vincent–St. MaryFighting Irish finished the season 26–1 and repeated as state champions. LeBron was named Ohio Mr. Basketball and selected to the USA Today All-USA First Team. He definitely proved he was the best sophomore in the country.

LeBron James smiling before playing against the Washington Wizards at Capital One Arena on April 3, 2024
Source: Getty Images

LeBron and JJ drink wine during their podcast, which seems to make it entertaining.

While we’re in no way advocating anyone to get intoxicated in order to open up or spill secrets that would have otherwise stayed secret, it probably doesn’t hurt that both LeBron and JJ drink wine during their podcast. Along with the folks brave enough to go on another podcast hosted by a former athlete, Club Shay Shay, it seems like a few drinks only help make the content a bit more entertaining.

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