For anyone thinking LeBron James’ offseason signing with the Los Angles Lakers was all for show, that the best basketball player on the planet was going to shift his focus to passion projects like “The Shop” or blockbuster movies like Space Jam 2 instead of dominating the game like he always has, guess again. All you needed was about three minutes Thursday night to realize The King is not messing around on the hardwood this season.
With 9 minutes, 26 seconds remaining in the first quarter at the Moda Center, James intercepted an inbounds pass. Then, in less than five seconds, the 6-foot-8 freight train in his 16th season flushed a thunderous dunk home like he has his entire career.
Let’s look at that in slow motion because this is a historic bucket, the first in James’ new chapter with the historic Lakers.
Oh, and on the next possession, James weaved through the defense for yet another monster dunk to extend the Lakers lead.
James finished his Lakers debut with 26 points on 9-for-16 shooting, 12 rebounds, six assists and one steal in a game-high 37 minutes. But although Los Angeles lost 128-119 to the Portland Trail Blazers, fans should be encouraged on opening night.
There was no doubt LeBron James was going to bring it this season. The questions were about his supporting cast, and they showed up to play.
Brandon Ingram scored 16 points, Rajon Rondo added 16 points and 11 assists, JaVale McGee flushed home 13 more, Josh Hart and Kyle Kuzma dropped a combine 35 points off the bench, and Lonzo Ball showed some nice flashes.
James was there the entire time as the leader of this young team, too.
This is just the first game of a long, 82-game regular season, but it’s a promising start, and all it took was less than three minutes to know LeBron James is not messing around in 2018-19.