Kevin Love praises James Jones for being such a great teammate

After winning the NBA championship, the Cleveland Cavaliers are as close as ever and it's pretty hard to question whether or not they like each other. At times over the last two years, there have been plenty of moments to interpret as unrest or distrust or just not fitting together. After coming back from down 3-1 to beat the Golden State Warriors with two wins at Oracle Arena, the Cavs have officially proven themselves and figured out all of that potential mess.

Now is the time to appreciate teammates and that's exactly what Kevin Love is doing with James Jones. Love posted about Jones, a.k.a. Champ, on Instagram, thanking him for being a strong worker, a strong voice, and a leading example for Love and others. He even credited him with the advice of not being afraid to be himself when everybody else seemed to doubt Love's place on the team.

Those of you who know Champ will appreciate this... I'd like to tribute the best teammate I've ever had, James Jones aka Champ. You taught me more than you know the past 2 years-- what it takes to win, how to be a better teammate, how to balance the good/bad off the court, and most importantly...putting team first. Sacrifice for the better of the team, and in order to lead sometimes you have to learn to follow. You've been to 6 straight Finals. You've been the constant presence we needed in the locker room. You're the ultimate work horse. The lessons you taught me will stay with me for the rest of my career and life after basketball. No one can avoid the ups and downs of the Playoffs, and when many wrote me off after a tough stretch in the Finals... you and the team stuck by me allowing me to flourish and make plays when it mattered most. Like you told me not too long ago, "don't be afraid to be yourself." And now I'll never be-- thanks for everything. Keep being you Champ.

This is the kind of stuff that happens leading up to a team coming together at a championship level. LeBron James' team in Miami had to learn how to find that comfort within who they were before they could finally come through and win back-to-back titles. Now they've found a way to do it in Cleveland with LeBron as the leader, but that kind of stuff doesn't happen without strong veterans like Richard Jefferson and James Jones in the locker room keeping everybody honest.

CBS Sports Writer

Zach Harper likes basketball. Some would even say he loves it. He's also an enthusiast for everything Ricky Davis, Rasheed Wallace, Nic Cage, and has seen the movie Gigli almost three times. He's been... Full Bio

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