Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James seems to be coming into this season with a chip on his shoulder as he is being doubted by many going into Year 19 coming off an injury-plagued season.
Through the first half of last season, James was arguably the favorite to win the NBA’s MVP award, and that was coming off a year that he won his fourth championship.
He then suffered an ankle injury that he never truly recovered from though, which was part of the reason the Lakers were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs.
Now, not many people still view James as the best player in the league, so this season will be a big one for him if he wants to prove the doubters wrong.
Being in peak physical shape at age 36 will be vital to make that happen though, and Rob Pelinka revealed during a recent press conference that he took that extra serious this summer and is looking a bit slimmer than usual.
“LeBron has been in working hard, working really early in the morning,” Pelinka said. “I think the thing that stands out is just his fitness level. He’s slimmed up. We all know LeBron studies the greats and he adds things into his game and I think going into this stage of his career, he’s made a decision to come back a little bit leaner and I think that’s going to translate in his explosiveness and his quickness.”
Pelinka also added that James is excited about the team that was put around him and is ready for another championship push.
“But he’s been very, very locked in with his training and you just get a sense he has a confidence in his teammates, he really does. I think when he looks around the locker room and sees the nameplates or with the guys he’s been on the court with, you can just tell he has a high level of confidence in his teammates and what this team could accomplish this season if we all lock in.
“I think the big word is mindset, what will the mindset of all these players be? I think we have 13 guys signed to contracts and it just feels like this group realizes that everyone is gonna have to set a little bit of personal thing or a selfish desire aside, come together and have the mindset of how do I make the guy next to me in the locker room great? And it just feels like that’s LeBron’s mindset right now with his teammates and that he has belief.”
If the Lakers’ three stars can stay healthy, especially James, then they should be one of the best teams in the league again this year.
Having a full offseason should help with that, which was not a luxury that James had a season ago.
James organizing team minicamp in Las Vegas
James and his teammates are officially set to hit the court for the start of training camp on Tuesday. It appears they are getting started even earlier than that though as it was recently reported that James organized a players-only minicamp in Las Vegas this weekend, something that will also help with building team chemistry.
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