LeBron James seems to have become a mentor for Los Angeles Lakers rookie Scotty Pippen Jr., who has signed a two-way contract with L.A.
Even though Pippen and James have yet to play together, the Vanderbilt alum could already feel the four-time NBA champion’s support in the Las Vegas Summer League. In a loss to the Phoenix Suns, James rushed to help Pippen up after he fell near his sit following an and-1 finish.
Later in July, the 37-year-old All-Star hyped up the young guard on Twitter, retweeting a video of his workout and game highlights and saying that “the kid has a bright future.”
In an appearance on Spectrum SportsNet’s “Lakeshow” podcast, Pippen described his reaction to James’ tweet and what it’s like to be his teammate:
“It was crazy. My phone was blowing up that morning. But I think it’s even a crazier feeling to see him every day in the gym, seeing him working. I’ve seen him since I was a little kid, I used to be around his kids when I was young so being around my friend’s dad is still kind of a weird feeling to me.”
Pippen also discussed how James’ work ethic has been a source of motivation in the gym this summer:
“His work ethic. I think it’s Year 19 or something like that, so just seeing him in the morning, grinding and working, it says a lot about him. It says a lot about why he’s great at what he does and it motivates me to go out there and work harder too.”
Both Pippen and James belong to the Klutch Sports stable, explaining why the two were likely to develop a relationship. On the other hand, Klutch clients make for about half of the Lakers roster but it’s the 21-year-old son of the Chicago Bulls legend, Scotty Pippen, whom James seems to have taken under his wing.
That’s a promising sign for Pippen considering how Alex Caruso, Kyle Kuzma and Malik Monk benefited from their bond with the 18-time All-Star in the past.
James continuing to push for Lakers to land Irving
While Pippen is a young point guard looking to find his way in the NBA, he likely won’t play a big role with the Lakers’ parent team this season.
The Lakers are still looking for upgrades at the point guard position though as they have had reported interest in acquiring Kyrie Irving all summer.
While talks with the Brooklyn Nets seem to be at a standstill until there’s a resolution on Kevin Durant’s situation, James is reportedly continuing to push for the Lakers to trade for Irving so he can reunite with his former Cleveland Cavaliers co-star.
If the Lakers are able to land Irving then that would give Pippen another valuable resource to learn from during his rookie season.
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