LeBron James has been clear he joined the Los Angeles Lakers to end the arguably worst spell in franchise history and bring the Larry O’Brien trophy back to the storied franchise.
The three-time NBA champion is halfway through the path to do just that after L.A. secured a spot in the Western Conference Finals with a Game 5 victory over the Houston Rockets.
James endured a difficult debut season as a Laker, grappling with injuries and missing out on the NBA Playoffs for the first time in 14 years. But following the arrival of Anthony Davis, he has thrived and played some of the best basketball of his career.
James has evolved continued to evolve, taking on the role of a full-time playmaker while commanding the team’s defense and playing second fiddle when needed to help Davis unleash his potential.
As a result, the All-Star duo led the Lakers to their first postseason appearance since 2013 and first berth in the Conference Finals since 2010 — all in their first season together.
But James is fully aware his job is not done yet as he understands the Lakers organization and fans expect nothing less from him than bringing the title back to L.A.
“I know what my name comes with, and it comes with winning,” James said. “I take that responsibility to the utmost than anything, because I am a winner and I’ve always been a winner from the first time I ever played organized basketball.”
James added he has been preaching the win-only attitude ever since he started playing basketball when he was 9 years old — all the while learning the true value of teamwork. It’s a mentality that has paid off throughout his career.
“I’ve won at every level, so it’s always kind of worked for me,” James said. “I understand what comes with that. I understand the Laker faithful and what they felt or were going through of not being in the postseason, not competing for championships, and whatever the case may be.
“I took that responsibility as well. I’m happy I’m able to do a little part of it with the rest of my ballclub and the coaching staff and everybody that’s sacrificed in trying to get this franchise back competing for a championship, which we’ve done all year.”
Davis: first season with Lakers just like ‘Envisioned’
Davis, just as James, understood his ultimate goal in L.A. would be to win — and win immediately — when his trade from New Orleans became reality.
And as the seven-time All-Star is about to play in his first Conference Finals, he reflected on what’s come of his debut season with the Lakers thus far.
“It’s been a great process for me, it’s been great being around the guys that we have, obviously been great being around ‘Bron,” Davis said. “He’s just helping me through it all. At this point now, Western Conference Finals is new for me, so that process is going to be fun.
“It’s everything that I’ve envisioned.”
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