LeBron James holds another unique opportunity to vie for a fifth NBA title after the Los Angeles Lakers restructured the roster. Despite nearing closer to two decades in the league, James remains one of the game’s best talents. The star forward’s unwavering commitment has guided him to prove one thing to his teammates in his 19th year.
LeBron James and Lakers struggle through injuries
The Lakers entered last season hoping to compete for a second straight NBA title.
Los Angeles got off to a promising start behind James‘ stellar play. He continued to perform at an MVP level even after Anthony Davis became sidelined due to a calf injury related to his Achilles tendon. However, the star forward suffered a high right ankle sprain that forced him to miss six weeks.
James and Davis returned before the end of the regular season, but both weren’t physically the same players. Those factors led to the Lakers falling to an early playoff exit while setting the table for a busy offseason retooling the roster.
As the four-time league MVP prepares for his 19th season, he’s ready to prove one thing to his teammates.
Even in his 19th Season, LeBron James knows he needs to prove his leadership for the Lakers: ‘I practice it, preach it, and live by it’
Heading into his 19th season, James holds a unique opportunity to add another NBA title to his resume.
Los Angeles’ busy offseason reconstructing the roster created significant championship buzz around the franchise. However, the 36-year-old voice at Lakers’ Media Day on Tuesday morning that he holds the responsibility to this teammates to step up as a leader.
“I have to prove to my teammates that I am available,” James said. “That I am holding myself accountable, that I am the leader that I say I am, and every night I am going to be there for them through the ups and through the downs. Every day I wake up with that responsibility and I take it to heart.”
“Leadership is not some time thing it’s a 365-day, and 366 [days] on a leap year, and 24-7. I practice it, preach it, and live by it. That is my goal and determination, and I have to prove that to the guys.”
Throughout much of his career, James has shouldered the responsibility of leadership. His wealth of experience and knowledge regarding the game of basketball has been key to his team’s success. The Lakers may possess a veteran-laden roster, but James remains the focal point as the guiding force that pushes the franchise forward.
Los Angeles not only needs him to continue to play at an elite level but also further embrace his leadership responsibility to guide them toward NBA title contention.
Lakers remain fixated on competing for an NBA title
James is ready to embrace his increased leadership with the Lakers’ revamped roster, but beyond that, the franchise hopes he can remain one of the game’s best talents.
The 36-year-old spent the offseason working on his health to fully recover from his ankle injury while slightly altering his physique ahead of his 19th season. James is also expected to take an adjusted role, playing more time at power forward and working more off the ball alongside Russell Westbrook.
The Lakers constructed a balanced supporting cast filled with shooters and versatile defenders. If James can continue to play near an MVP level, it will spell out a special campaign ahead with serious NBA title contention.
However, it will take a collective approach regarding sacrifice to bring an 18th championship to Los Angeles.
“One word: sacrifice,” Davis said. “All players need to sacrifice for the betterment of the team. Before got Russ got here and right after that, we talked about that. The only way this is going to work is if we all sacrifice and we are all willing to do that.”