The year 2020 has been extraordinary not only for sports and the Los Angeles Lakers but also for the entire world in general. L.A. triumphed in the Orlando bubble and ended the franchise’s 10-year wait for the NBA title, inspired by the leadership of LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
But many tragedies accompanied the team’s championship journey, including Kobe Bryant’s tragic death, issues of social inequality, and the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic that continues taking the lives of thousands of people around the globe every day.
Considering how rich in events 2020 has been, it does not surprise James had difficulties figuring out how he would remember the past 12 months. “I think it’s something that I will be able to sit down and talk to my grandkids about. And say that the year 2020 was one helluva year,” he said.
“The good, the bad, the ugly, and everything in between. It’s something us as Americans and people all over the world haven’t ever seen.”
Looking back, James emphasized the “heartbreaking” toll the pandemic has taken on the American people and the abundance of police brutality and systemic racism issues that prompted him to launch his More Than A Vote initiative.
“So many storylines that you could sit down by the fireplace, have your grandkids sit on your lap and whatever issues they want to talk about, you can talk about it for quite a while. I’m looking forward to that moment,” he said.
James himself has received numerous recognitions throughout the year. Besides his fourth championship ring and NBA Finals MVP award, the 36-year-old veteran has been named the AP Male Athlete of the Year, Sports illustrated’s Sportsperson of the Year, and received the Muhammad Ali Legacy award for both his on and off-the-court initiatives.
The Lakers All-Star struck a poignant note when speaking of his accomplishments, saying he could not fully comprehend the extent of the accolades taking into account his background and difficult upbringing. But James expressed hope that he was succeeding in inspiring future generations as well as making his loved ones proud.
“It doesn’t make sense,” he said. “But I just try to take full advantage of the opportunity that I’ve been given. I believe I was one of the chosen ones, not only in my community but to make a difference playing the sport that I play and off the floor.
“I just try to take full advantage of it and don’t disrespect the gift or hand that was given to me; both from the man above and also from my support system when I was growing up.”
James ‘fortunate’ to play on his birthday
James reached another milestone during the 121-107 victory over the San Antonio Spurs, becoming the first NBA player to have scored at least 10 points in 1,000 consecutive games. Interestingly, the feat coincided with his 36th birthday.
Ahead of the clash, James said he felt “fortunate” to be able to play the game he loved on his special day. “Coming from where I come from, a lot of people don’t even make it past 21,” James said.
“Just very blessed and very honored. I’m happy to be doing what I love to do.”
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