If anyone can relate to the scrutiny Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. is subjected to, it's LeBron James.
The Cleveland Cavaliers forward has been in the spotlight since he was the No. 1 pick in the 2003 NBA Draft out of high school. It's no surprise then that two of the biggest stars in their respective sports have developed a friendship.
"I just try to be a guidance to him and give him words of advice when he needs it and when he wants it," James said on Saturday morning before the Cavaliers' shootaround at Madison Square Garden. "He can reach out to me any time no matter what time or what the subject is and I just try to give him a piece of my knowledge. It's up to him however he wants to take it."
Beckham and James connected last July in Los Angeles. James had just won his third NBA title and Beckham was preparing for his third season in the NFL when they got together for an early morning workout arranged by James' manager, Maverick Carter.
"It was just good to be able to work out with him," Beckham said. "Obviously you see what it takes and what he is doing even after what he's already done. I don't want to say I gained a new level of respect for him because I already have the utmost respect for him. He's my favorite athlete and the one that I look to the most, so it was just a cool experience for me to be able to go down and work with him."
Beckham and James have remained in touch. James sent an Instagram shout-out to Beckham during training camp. Beckham paid tribute to James by mimicking the four-time NBA MVP's signature chalk toss after scoring a touchdown against the Browns on Nov. 27. If Beckham wasn't in Houston for the Super Bowl on Sunday, he likely would be sitting courtside Saturday night for the Cavs' game against the Knicks.
James, who is eight years older than Beckham, explained how he deals with constant criticism.
"At the end of the day, you control what you can control," James said. "What I can control is how I approach the game, what I represent to the game and how I step out on the floor and compete every night with my teammates. That's the only thing I can worry about and should focus on."
Dan Duggan | nj.com | February 4, 2017