As has been the case every year since the NBA switched over to this new format for the All-Star Game, Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James was a captain for one of the teams. With players having to pick teams instead of just being assigned to the East or West conference, it can lead to some interesting moments as selections are being made.
Players and their teams have heated rivalries throughout the league and one of the biggest going right now is between the Lakers and the other inhabitants of Staples Center, the Los Angeles Clippers. Like the Lakers, the Clippers had two All-Stars as well and while Kawhi Leonard was chosen as part of Kevin Durant’s team, Paul George was there for the taking during the reserves selections.
When the time came for James to add George to his roster, he couldn’t help himself but to make light of the Lakers-Clippers rivalry before making it official, via Sports Illustrated’s Farbod Esnaashari:
LeBron James jokes about picking Paul George as his All-Star teammate: "This is the only time I'll root for this guy or this team, because we are enemies." pic.twitter.com/IZ1zLHGnmA
— Farbod Esnaashari (@Farbod_E) March 5, 2021
Of course off the court, there is no bad blood between James and George, but there is no doubt that when the Clippers and Lakers meet on the court, the intensity ramps up big time. The two teams remain amongst the favorites to hoist the Larry O’Brien Trophy at the end of the season and with no playoff meeting happening last year, many are hoping to finally see that matchup this season.
Being an All-Star captain for four straight seasons now, James has really begun to have fun with the selection process, knowing it’s something fans love to see. James also made light of the Utah Jazz franchise when asked why Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert were the two last picks of the draft itself.
James enjoys this process and the ability to joke around about these things and this is the time to do so. Once the All-Star break is passed he will be back to business as usual, but for now, he has no problems being nice to the Lakers’ biggest rivals.
James takes jab at Utah Jazz during NBA All-Star Draft
While most were able to laugh at James poking fun at George and the Clippers, many Jazz fans likely didn’t care too much for what he said at the end of the draft. Utah’s two All-Stars were the final two picks and James went back to his video game roots explaining why, noting that even when John Stockton and Karl Malone were there, no one ever picked the Jazz.
The statement was a relatively fair one as many video gamers undoubtedly preferred to play with the likes of the Bulls, Lakers, and SuperSonics as opposed to the very talented, but ultimately boring Jazz. Apparently, that mindset has now carried over to the Mitchell-Gobert era.
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