Despite never meeting in person, Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James and Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball already have a mutual respect for each other. James was Ball’s favorite player growing up, and James understands the pressure Ball faces as a young player with high expectations in the NBA.
Additionally, the two have been linked due to potentially becoming teammates less than a year from now, as James is set to reach free agency, and could have some interest in playing for the Lakers. Although it’s currently being considered an unlikely scenario.
Ball will get his first chance to share the court with his childhood idol Thursday night when the Lakers continue their road trip in Cleveland. The Lakers have a tall task ahead of them, as the Cavaliers have won 15 of their last 16 games, with James playing at an MVP-caliber level.
Things may have gotten even more difficult for Ball and the Lakers, as in a recent visit to the Cleveland Children’s Clinic, one of the children asked James if he would dunk on Ball when the teams play Thursday night.
Being the good-natured person he is, James told the child he would, via Fox Sports Ohio:
— FOX Sports Ohio (@FOXSportsOH) December 14, 2017
James is one of the best players in NBA history with a ball in his hands in transition, so Ball and his teammates will surely need to look out for the four-time MVP.
The Lakers front office has made it clear that they hope to sign two max-contract free agents in 2018 to add to their young core, with James, Paul George and potentially DeMarcus Cousins all in their sights. Though, Los Angeles still needs to clear cap space to pull of the feat.
Regardless of the outcome Thursday night, the Lakers have an opportunity to show James how much promise they have as a franchise moving forward and could serve as the first step in the recruiting process.