In terms of North American sports franchises, there are very few who are at the level of the Los Angeles Lakers when it comes to historical success and standing. Since the franchise came into existence, there has been success at the highest level along with many of the greatest players to ever step foot on an NBA court.
The latest in the line of NBA legends to take the reins of the franchise is LeBron James, who led the team to its 17th NBA Championship last season. In the rafters of the Staples Center sits all of those championship banners and the jerseys of all the Lakers legends including Magic Johnson, Jerry West and, of course, Kobe Bryant.
The pressure that comes with being a member of the Lakers is something that not everyone can handle and not everyone really has a sense of the Lakers’ historical greatness until they get there. But James is not one of those.
“I got every sense of the history of this Laker franchise. I’m a historian of the game, first of all,” James said. “So even before I got here, I knew the history of the Lakers franchise. I understood where it started in Minneapolis and what year it came to Los Angeles and knowing the history of the players that came before me before I signed here. And the history of the ’60s all the way to the 2000s to the 2010s and things and the players and the owners and the coaches and the memorable shots, memorable plays, memorable everything of this franchise.”
It isn’t a stretch to say that because James completely understands the historical significance of the Lakers franchise, he truly enjoys being a part of it.
“It’s a historical franchise up there with a lot of other great franchises but I’m not gonna name them because we’re talking about the Purple and Gold right now,” James added. “I realize this opportunity, it’s been an honor to be a part of this franchise for the last three years I think I’ve been here, I think it’s been three years [laughs]. And I will continue to love being a part of this Lakers organization, being a part of the history.”
Thanks to James, the Lakers are now tied for the most championships in NBA history and should he take them past that other franchise, his standing within the organization’s history will grow even more.
James on ankle injury: ‘Every day is a step forward’
If James is able to lead the Lakers to their 18th NBA Championship he’ll be doing so at less than 100 percent. The high ankle sprain he suffered earlier this season is still bothering him, but he continues to push to get back to back to his normal level.
“Obviously it’s been a rough year on me as far as physically with my ankle and dealing with that trying to get it back to where it was before the injury,” James said. “But every day is a step forward and we’ll continue to put the work into it with my treatment around the clock, getting it to, like I said, where it was before the injury and until then my teammates will continue to hold me down while I try to make plays for them.”
James has continued to find ways to impact the game at less than his best and that is proof of just how great he really is.
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