The Los Angeles Lakers are a franchise that has always been about its stars. From George Mikan and Jerry West, to Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and of course Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal, the Lakers have always been led by the biggest and brightest the league has to offer. And that remains the same today with LeBron James leading the charge.
While there have been some struggles, James did lead the Lakers to the NBA Championship in 2020 and has stamped himself as a Lakers great after breaking the NBA’s all-time scoring record while donning the purple and gold.
This has led some to wonder whether he has earned the ultimate honor of having a statue outside of the Lakers’ home arena and if you ask O’Neal, he would be just fine with it, via Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson of Bally Sports:
“I’m not the one that you should ask on that question, however, he did win a championship with the Lakers. A lot of people say that don’t count well if you can’t count his then you can’t count Mr. Tim Duncan’s bubble championship. That’s right, I said it. So if we’re gonna count Tim Duncan’s championship that he had during the lockout year, you have to count that.
“So LeBron has won as a Laker, he broke the record as a Laker. Would I oppose him having a statue? I would not. If they wanna give him a statue I’d be fine with that. Great player, great for the league, and he did what he was supposed to do as a Laker.”
But while Shaq is happy with what LeBron has done in his Lakers tenure, he still wants to see him create another story with how the team finishes out this year:
“But the thing with the Lakers, Laker fans are real greedy. ‘Yea you won that bubble championship, but when you gon give us another one.’ Right now they’re fighting to get into the playoffs. It would be a shame if they didn’t make the playoffs. If I was him and I just broke the record, I saw someone say they gotta win 18 out of 24 games to make the Play-In Game, I’m having meetings every day like ‘Yo, we gotta win 21 out of 24.’
“Because I’m all about stories. Like the story of him being the leading scorer that’s cool, but what about they were in 13th place, they made it to seventh. They made it to the second round. Like I’m all about stories so if I was LeBron I’d be thinking like that and then having the guys also think like that. Hey, nobody’s counting on us so lets just see where this goes.”
As Shaq said, with the Lakers and this rabid fan base it is all about winning and bringing home championships. Thankfully LeBron shares that mindset and is focused on turning this season around and ensuring the franchise does not miss the playoffs in consecutive seasons.
LeBron James calls Lakers’ final 23 games the most important of his career
LeBron seems to be already adopting that exact mindset that Shaq is calling for as he recently called this upcoming stretch of games for the Lakers the most important regular season games of his career.
James spoke prior to the All-Star Game, saying that is the mindset that he is adopting and that he hopes the team adopts the same, adding that he plans on doing everything possible to ensure he is on the court every night.
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