Lakers News: Magic’s Paolo Banchero Calls Sharing Court With Childhood Idol LeBron James ‘Special’
(Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)

It has been said time and time again, but it still bears repeating that no player in the history of the NBA has remained as good as Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James has been this late in his career. What is even crazier is that LeBron is now sharing the court with players who were barely born at the time he made his debut, as was the case with Orlando Magic forward Paolo Banchero.

The Magic made Banchero the top pick in the 2022 NBA Draft and the versatile forward already looks like one of the true future stars of the NBA. But on Tuesday night with the Lakers in Orlando to face the Magic, Banchero was on the court for the first time with LeBron, who he has been very open about being his idol growing up.

Prior to the contest, Banchero spoke about his feelings on sharing the court with the Lakers superstar, noting his excitement on what was surely a special moment for him in his young career, via ClutchPoints:

“For me, it’s gonna be dope. It’s gonna be a special moment for me. Anybody that knows me knows that’s been my favorite player since I was a young kid. A guy who I’ve watched countless hours of. So it’s gonna be special for me being my first time getting to play against him in an NBA game, I’m excited.”

It is truly amazing to think about how long LeBron has been in the league at this point. As one of the media members mentioned, Banchero was not even a year old when James made his NBA debut, yet here he was playing on the same court. Unfortunately for the rookie, it was not a great showing while the elder statesman put on a show.

Banchero struggled with foul trouble all night and was limited to just 22 minutes because of it, making just 1-of-6 shots and finishing with just four points and five rebounds. Meanwhile, James finished with 28 points, seven rebounds, and five assists in the Lakers’ 19-point victory.

LeBron still had high praise for the rookie and what he has done so far in his young NBA career though, via Spectrum SportsNet:

“He’s been exceptional. Playing great ball. A three-level scorer so far in this league, in the paint, midrange and has been shooting the ball from the outside pretty well as well as of late. So he’s only just going to get better and better. Every game he’ll get better and better, every film session he’ll get better and better. All of these experiences are really good from him on a game to game basis. They definitely got a really good one. He’s a great kid too. They got a great one here in Orlando once again. They’ve had some really, really good picks in their drafts. You look at Shaq, Dwightvand now you see him. They’ve done very well.”

While certainly not the show Banchero wanted to put on against his idol, he will still have other chances to face off with the Lakers star. And the way LeBron is continuing to play, he’ll have plenty of chances over at least a couple more seasons before he calls it quits.

LeBron James makes obvious point about Lakers missing Anthony Davis

James and the Lakers were able to snap their four-game losing streak against Banchero and the Magic despite being without superstar big man Anthony Davis. The Lakers have predictably struggled on both ends without Davis and LeBron recently pointed out the obvious.

James noted that the Lakers already aren’t a team with a lot of size and length so losing Davis is even more tough. The superstar even added that ‘you don’t need to be a rocket scientist’ to know the team is missing Davis.

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