LeBron James hasn’t said much as the NBA gets ready to restart its crazy season. His Los Angeles Lakers teammates, however, have and they’ve said that he’s “ready for this moment” as he seeks his fourth NBA title. James’ stance is a far cry from March when he said he wouldn’t play if there weren’t fans in the stands.
‘I ain’t playing’ without fans
When Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert was diagnosed with the coronavirus (COVID-19) on March 11, the NBA put a halt to its season. From that point on, there were numerous questions about how the NBA would handle the situation. Would they even try to finish the season? How long would they have to wait to restart? Would fans be able to watch if the season did resume?
Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James was asked at the time about the possibility of playing in an empty arena. He was pretty emphatic that he wouldn’t be playing in front of vacant seats. He said the fans are who he plays for.
“Play games without the fans?” he said. “Nah, that’s impossible. I ain’t playing if I ain’t got fans in the crowd. That’s who I play for. I play for my teammates. I play for the fans. That’s what it’s all about. If I show up to an arena and there ain’t no fans in there, I ain’t playing. They can do what they want to do.”
James is seeking his fourth title
Lebron James is and always will be compared to Michael Jordan. When the debate of who the greatest player of all-time in the NBA comes up, it’s usually between James and Jordan. The one category where Jordan dominates is league championships. Jordan owns six rings, while LeBron has three.
James is 35 years old. He is aging, but he continues to dominate on the court. He is the co-favorite for Most Valuable Player with Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo. Through 63 games this season, James was leading the league in assists per game with 10.6 per game. He was also averaging 25.7 points per game.
James has guided his Lakers to the best record in the Western Conference. The Lakers lead the Los Angeles Clippers by 5.5 games and stand at 49-14. Another MVP and another NBA title would at the very least close the gap in the Jordan vs. James debate.
LeBron’s teammates say he’s ready to go
As the NBA gets ready to resume its season, players have been heading to Florida where they will finish out the year in front of zero fans. Although he hasn’t said a whole lot on the matter, LeBron James will be joining his teammates. Not only has he done a quick 180 regarding playing in empty arenas, but his teammates also said he is raring to go.
James has been a regular at the Lakers’ practice facility. He’s been working hard as he usually does. “He’s in the gym early, he’s leaving late and he’s the last guy working — and probably working the longest and the hardest,” teammate Danny Green told The New York Times. “He hasn’t changed at all, man.”
It’ll be a new beginning for the NBA, but the Lakers have a head start with their Western Conference-leading record. They can sense another shot at a title and Laker Jared Dudley said LeBron is fired up and ready to play. “He’s ready for this moment,” Dudley said. “You can tell.”