The Los Angeles Lakers are back in the national spotlight after signing LeBron James to a four-year contract this offseason. Unlike in his previous stops, however, James isn’t surrounded by multiple other All-Stars, but rather by a bunch of young players with potential.
The likes of Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma and Josh Hart all grew up watching LeBron in the league, so it could be easy for them to be in awe with being his teammate. James doesn’t really believe that is the case however and that’s how he wants it.
Speaking with Tania Ganguli of the L.A. Times, James indicated he prides himself on being a regular person, while still remaining a leader to the young players:
“If we’re serious about what we’re here for and we’re putting in the time, we should all have awe moments,” James said. “For me, I’m just one of the guys. … I come in, I punch my clock in, I put my hard hat on and I go to work every single day like the rest of them. I just want to lead those guys as much as they would like me to lead.”
As James said, he is a leader on this team and the young players undoubtedly look to him as the leader of this team. But just as important is the fact that James doesn’t put himself above his teammates, interacting with them as equals despite the age and experience difference.
LeBron understands that this team’s success will depend greatly on the success of these young players so he will work with them to get them to where they need to be. It is no accident that James is just as engaged when he’s on the bench during games, than on the floor.
Regardless, the relationship between the young players and veterans is off to a strong start, which bodes well for this Lakers team.
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