Lakers News: LeBron James Looks Back On Pressure Put On Him At Age 18 After Reaching 40,000 Points
LeBron James, Lakers
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Over the last 21 years, Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James has gone from an 18-year-old with unfathomable expectations to an instant superstar, a four-time MVP and NBA champion as well as a record-holder in virtually every category. This includes records that were seen as unbreakable, like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s all-time scoring record. And on Saturday, he crossed another milestone off his list by reaching the 40,000-point threshold.

Although it came in a losing effort to the Denver Nuggets, reaching 40,000 points is a testament to just how long James has been atop the league. He was already one of the best players in the league when he was drafted in 2003, and over two decades later — despite the league hosting an entirely new slate of players — he remains one of the best players in the league.

So as James reflects on everything that got him to this point, he gave his thoughts on his 18-year-old self and why the current day version doesn’t need to give him any advice.

“I wouldn’t tell him anything, honestly,” James said. “Because 18-year-old LeBron had a great head on his shoulders. He just did. He was put in a position where I wouldn’t wish too many 18-year-old kids would be put into. But he just had his head in the best possible position.

“He was raised the right way by his mother, he was raised the right way by his little league coaches, he was held accountable by his friends, he met a young lady in high school that held him down as well and then he just told himself if you want to make a real name for yourself and your last name and your family and your friends and your city, the only way it’s gonna happen is if you just stay focused and put in the work. Besides my family and my friends and my city and some people in my city as well because we know some of those people, to be quite honest with you, everybody wanted to see me fail when I got to the league.

“Everybody was just like there’s no way he’s gonna be able to exceed the expectations that’s put upon him. For the first time in a long time, I seen the commercial that was played before my first game. And when I rewatched it today for the first time, I think they were mentioning all the greats to every play the game of basketball, I think it was like Big O and Michael and Kareem and Kobe, I forgot what all else was in that commercial or whatever the case may be, I could be wrong about some of the names that I mentioned, but then it was like and then next one is LeBron James. I didn’t even see that commercial when it happened but watching it today, I was like ‘What the hell?’ Like that expectation on an 18-year-old kid. That was insane to just think about. I was watching it today and I was like I wish that on no kid in no sport, to have to have this type of pressure put on them and everybody wanting to see you fail.

“So I wouldn’t tell that 18-year-old kid nothing. I would tell him just to do exactly what you’re thinking. No matter what. Just stay true to yourself, believe in yourself and don’t every get too high. You get too high, they’re gonna try to knock you off. But at the same time, if you fall, like the late, great Aliyah said, just pick yourself up and try again. And I’ve done that in my career.”

At this stage, James has accomplished nearly everything a player can. And it all started with the way that his 18-year-old self went about his business despite the otherworldly expectations placed upon him.

LeBron James explains how he maintains work ethic

What LeBron James is doing in the 21st season of his career is unprecedented, and it’s a credit to the work he has put in throughout the course of his career and continues to at age 39.

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