As a rookie in the NBA there are a lot of things to look forward to. From a player’s first game or first points, there are plenty of milestones they can look forward to.
Many also anticipate taking the court against their favorite players growing up. It isn’t often that a player can match up against their idol, or one of the best players at their respective positions so oftentimes that is a date that is marked on the calendar.
For Orlando Magic rookie big man Mo Bamba, he has one player in mind to face off against. ESPN’s Chris Forsberg asked a number of rookies who they are looking forward to playing against the most and Bamba’s answer was Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James:
“Honestly, I’m looking forward to going against the best player and that’s LeBron [James]. Not a lot of people can say they played against Kobe [Bryant]. And not a lot of people can say they played against [Michael] Jordan. Everyone who does kinda has a story about it. I’m looking forward to playing against LeBron.”
This says a lot about James’ impact as he doesn’t even play the same position as Bamba. The two won’t be matched up often so just being on the floor with James is something that appeals to the rookie big man.
Bamba wasn’t the only one looking forward to facing LeBron as Dallas Mavericks rookie Luka Doncic also named him when asked the same question:
“It’s definitely LeBron James because he was my idol. He is my idol. That will be fun.”
It’s going to be a rough time for any rookie facing off with James. His combination of size, speed, strength, and athleticism is too much for just about anybody, let alone a rookie who hasn’t physically developed.
As one of the greatest players of all-time, it makes sense that James’ name would come up with this question. These rookies may be looking forward to facing James, but they’re likely in for a long night when that day finally comes.