By Elijah Hamilton
Published: October 10th, 2018
For the first time as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers, LeBron James hit the floor of the Staples center for the team’s first preseason game.
Throughout their first exhibition preseason game against the Denver Nuggets, there seemed to be a constant sense of renewal in the air. Coming into year 16 of his career, few would have thought that LeBron James would don purple and gold for the Lakers, but in 2018, the king of the NBA will now be the king of L.A.
In previous seasons, James has become accustomed to carrying teams on his back and into championship contention, often breaking records while doing so; his new mission in the city of angels is to revive a Laker franchise that has lost its winning ways.
The Los Angeles Lakers is a franchise that is known for its rich lineage and historic significance in the NBA, as well as professional basketball. With 16 championships spanning over 71 years, winning has become synonymous with the Lakers franchise.
However, in recent seasons, the Los Angeles Lakers have transitioned from being the most prestigious, winningest franchise to becoming a doormat for the rest of the league. The franchise hasn’t lived up to the high standards it tends to be known for.
Last season the team won just 35 games. Though it was a year of improvement for the Lakers, it was obvious that these weren’t the Lakers that many were familiar with.
The big summer free-agent acquisition that the franchise has desperately searched for finally arrived this past summer when James signed a 4-year, $154 million contract with Los Angeles. Now James is determined to help usher in a new era for a franchise that has not seen much winning, and while doing so, pad his already incredible legacy.
For many, James on the Lakers almost feels like a match made in heaven.
The best player in the league and the most popular franchise in the NBA are together in an effort to bring a historical franchise back to prominence and bring an NBA finals trophy to a part of California that isn’t Oakland.
James joining up with the Los Angeles Lakers also sends a message to the rest of the league that the Lakers are a serious contender in the West once again and are looking to raise the franchise’s 17th championship – the first one since 2010.
The Lakers are better by proxy with just LeBron’s presence alone, however, James will be surrounded by a supporting cast of young and exciting players like point guard Lonzo Ball and forwards Kyle Kuzma and Brandon Ingram. There is also a group of savvy veterans with championship experience including Rajon Rondo, JaVale McGee, and x-factor players like Lance Stephenson and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
So far in the preseason, we have gotten a small taste of James effect in playing for the Lakers. He improved the play of his other teammates by means of unselfish passing and setting the tempo for the rest of the team on defense.
Also, James has managed to make the team more effective in the open court, showing flashes of the “Showtime” Lakers of the 1980’s.
We can count the many NBA moments that were surrounded by the purple and gold, and now with LeBron James at the helm of the Lakers, it is safe to say that there are many more on the way.
The Lakers play their first regular season game against the Portland Trailblazers on Thursday, October 18.