All hail the new king of Los Angeles! In a preview of the biggest story of the upcoming NBA season, LeBron James joined his new squad to take to the court for the first time as a L.A. Laker!
Though NBA fans had already seen what LeBron James, 33, looks like in his new Los Angeles Lakers uniform, Sept. 30 marked his official first appearance since ditching Ohio for Southern California. The former Cleveland Cavalier star joined the Lakers for their preseason game against the Denver Nuggets. Though the Lakers and Nuggets built up a small little rivalry during the 2017-18 season, the real story was seeing LeBron’s first appearance as a Laker. And he came out swinging. In fact, his first bucket was a three-pointer from way downtown.
“I like the challenge of being able to help a team get to places that they haven’t been in quite a while,” LeBron said in July when speaking with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols. “And obviously the Lakers haven’t made the playoffs in a few years, but the Lakers organization and historical franchise matches up there with all the greats. You can look at the Cowboys and you can look at the Patriots, you can look at Manchester United, the Boston Celtics — these are like historical franchises. And for me to be a part of that, I think it’s a great move not only for me but for my family and for the history of basketball in general.”
When asked if LeBron – who turns 34 in December, is playing in his 16th season – thought he was sacrificing a year of his prime to play with a squad that is basically a bunch of untested young players and a bunch of new signees (instead of staying back in Cleveland), he brushed it off. “I don’t even look at it like that because I don’t feel like this is going to be one of the last years of my prime,” he said. “That’s another statistic number, and I’ve always been a part of beating the odds in life. So being around my kids a lot, it gives me even more and more time in my youth.”
.@KingJames 👑 first bucket as a Laker = 👌
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) October 1, 2018
James said that he doesn’t have any expectations for the team, save one: “We’re definitely going to be better than we were the previous year.” The Lakers finished 2017-18 season with a record of 35-47. They haven’t made the playoffs since 2013, which is shocking considering this is a franchise that has racked up 16 championships in the past. Well, tonight was the first step in the team breaking that dry spell, with LeBron – the king in yellow – leading the charge.