Lakers News: LeBron James Doesn’t Know Who Next Face Of NBA Will Be
LeBron James, Lakers
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

For at least the last decade, there has been no question that LeBron James has been the face of the NBA. Whether he was in Cleveland, Miami or now with the Los Angeles Lakers, there is no player who has been more impactful than LeBron.

Obviously in his 21st NBA season, James won’t be in the league for much longer, which begs many to ask the question who is next in line to take over that mantle. This year’s All-Star Game was full of next generation talent such as Luka Doncic, Jayson Tatum, Anthony Edwards and Shai Gilgious-Alexander, amongst others. But when asked who he feels is next, LeBron wasn’t sure as it wasn’t a thought to himself when he first entered the league.

“I don’t know, because when I came into the league, I didn’t look at myself as the face of anything,” LeBron noted. “I didn’t look at myself as the next Michael or the successor to Michael. When I came into the league, the first thing that I thought about was I have to start over now.

“I have built my rep in high school from my freshman year to my senior year, from being a 14-year-old freshman, I was 6’2″, 180 pounds, and I was like, okay, how can I make a name for myself at St. Vincent-St. Mary, all the way to my senior year, where I was the number one player in the country. That’s the same thing I did when I got drafted.”

For James, being 18 years old and getting drafted to his hometown Cavaliers as the most hyped high school basketball prospect ever brought an immense amount of pressure. He was simply focused on being the face of the franchise and representing his family in the right way.

“I did not come in with the mindset I was the number one player in the country still. I came in with the mindset I have to start over and I’m just one of 450 guys,” the Lakers star added. “I think that’s what allowed me to build and build and build. I didn’t think about being the face of the league. I knew I was being put in a position that I was being the face of a franchise, NBA franchise, at 18 years old. It was very stressful, and I knew the odds were stacked up against me and a lot of people wanted to see me fail. And I just kind of used that as motivation.

“But at the same time, understanding that I still have to be a professional. I know it’s a lot to ask for a teenager, but I wanted to represent my family with the utmost respect, represent my city with the utmost respect, do it on the floor at a high level, but also do it off the floor at a high level. Whatever came out of that came out of that.”

LeBron undoubtedly accomplished his goals at all levels both on and off the floor and continues to do so with the Lakers now. But when it comes to the next face of the league, James feels you can’t just name one, it has to happen naturally.

“We have a great young group of guys in our league right now that is playing spectacular basketball and also being great off the floor as well,” LeBron said. “But I don’t think you just say, okay, well, this guy’s the next person to be the face of anything. You have to just let it happen organically and then see what happens. But we have some great, great players in this league that can carry anything if they put their mind to it and they want it.”

The talent is there to succeed LeBron James and time will tell who will rise up and take that crown.

Lakers’ LeBron James remains committed to Team USA health permitting

LeBron James continues to push himself even in his later years and the Lakers superstar has previously committed to Team USA for the Olympics this summer. And he still intends to be there as long as he is healthy.

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