LeBron James may be forgetting something about how his first season with the Los Angeles Lakers went.
James quote-tweeted a tweet on Monday that repeated a critical statement about the Lakers star’s career. Some critics have said that James had so much success for most of his NBA career because he played in the Eastern Conference, which has been weaker than the West.
One of James’ friends mocked that line of thinking by throwing up that quote on Twitter.
Now that he has Anthony Davis on his team, he and his Lakers are leading the West. However, the playoffs haven’t begun yet, and the competition in the conference will be tough. The other thing is James is acting like last year didn’t happen.
His Lakers went 37-45 and missed the playoffs, marking the first time since 2005 that James missed the postseason. Yes, the team had injuries and James shut it down early, but that’s the point: the West was so tough last year that you had to be 14 games over .500 to make the playoffs, whereas in the East, the Pistons made the playoffs with a .500 record. Had James been in the East, he probably would have made the playoffs again.
Ultimately, both statements can be true: James is a great player who would have won in either conference and the East was significantly weaker than the West for most of James’ career, which eased his path to success.
NBA players are still in the process of trying to adjust to life inside the Orlando bubble, and LeBron James says there is nothing “normal” about it. That does not mean LeBron is planning to use the unusual circumstances as an excuse, however.
Reporters asked LeBron on Monday about life at Walt Disney World, and he said the situation is on par with what has been an abnormal year in 2020.
Lakers’ LeBron James on adjusting to the @NBA bubble: “It’s 2020. Nothing is normal in 2020. Nothing seems as is and who knows if it will ever go back to the way it was.” pic.twitter.com/q9xG7gflbf
“Life throws you curveballs sometimes, and it’s how you not only approach it but how you appreciate it as well,” James said. “Nothing is normal, but what is the same is that floor we just came off of and my teammates and what we’re here to do. That’s to lock in, stay focused and go about this ride accordingly.”
LeBron said all along that he wanted to finish the 2019-20 season, which is no surprise since he is running out of chances to win more championships. The Lakers are currently in first in the Western Conference with a 49-14 record. If LeBron can lead them to a title under the most bizarre circumstances in NBA history, that will certainly help his legacy.
LeBron James is probably the single biggest obstacle standing in between the LA Clippers and the NBA championship, so Doc Rivers is willing to consider innovative new ways of playing defense on him.
Speaking with the media Wednesday, the Clippers head coach joked that he turned in James to the league’s anonymous hotline and would be doing the same to San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich as well.
The NBA implemented the hotline so that those in the Orlando bubble could confidentially report potential violations of the strict rules governing health and safety. While it has been the subject of various memes and mockery, the hotline serves a very legitimate purpose in helping ensure the security and well-being of all the bubble participants.
Several NBA players have complained about what life is like inside the bubble campus in Orlando, but LeBron James has said very little since he arrived at Walt Disney World. Austin Rivers has one theory that may explain why LeBron has been so quiet.
Rivers answered some questions from Orlando during a takeover of SLAM’s Instagram live on Tuesday, and several fans asked the Houston Rockets guard if he has seen LeBron around. Rivers joked that LeBron isn’t staying with the rest of the players and probably has an entire building to himself.
Players have complained about everything from the food situation to the lack of luxurious hotel rooms inside the NBA bubble. Others think it is just fine and realize the situation could be much worse. Unless LeBron does have an entire building to himself, it’s safe to assume his situation in Disney World is a big step down from what he’s accustomed to.
On Friday, Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) sent a press release blasting the NBA for its limited selection of pre-approved messages they will allow league players to wear on the back of their jerseys during the resumed season in Orlando. Hawley’s letter, which was directed at NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, was critical that the messages did not give players the option to support the military, law enforcement, or condemn the Chinese Communist Party.
The NBA worked with the Players Association to give players the option of sharing certain messages on the back of their jerseys for the NBA’s resumed season in Orlando. A specific list of pre-approved words and/or phrases were put together by the league that players can choose to have on their jerseys.
LeBron James says he will not have one of those messages on his jersey.
Why is that? James told reporters via a conference call on Saturday that he did not feel the messages resonated with his “mission” and “goal.”
LeBron says he's not putting a social justice message on his jersey in Orlando: "It's just something that didn't resonate with my mission, my goal." He commends every player who did, though. pic.twitter.com/763ptFjzaF
James said that he would have liked to have been consulted on what the approved messages were.
The list of approved messages include: Black Lives Matter; Say Their Names; Vote; I Can’t Breathe; Justice; Peace; Equality; Freedom; Enough; Power to the People; Justice Now; Say Her Name; Sí Se Puede (Yes We Can); Liberation; See Us; Hear Us; Respect Us; Love Us; Listen; Listen to Us; Stand Up; Ally; Anti-Racist; I Am A Man; Speak Up; How Many More; Group Economics; Education Reform; and Mentor.
According to an ESPN report on Wednesday, over 80 percent of players had picked a message to put on their jerseys. “Equality” was said to be the most popular choice.
Many NBA teams and players are heading to the NBA bubble in Orlando and sharing their reactions. That includes LeBron James, whose Los Angeles Lakers will be among the favorites to win the championship when play begins.
Only for James, leaving for the Orlando bubble did not give him the best feeling. James jokingly compared leaving for the bubble to heading to serve a prison sentence.
“Just left the crib to head to the bubble. S— felt like I’m headed to do a bid man! Fr. Hated to leave the #JamesGang” he wrote on Twitter (tweet edited for profanity).
“Do a bid” is slang for serving a prison sentence.
There aren’t too many prison sentences that involve staying at a nice hotel and having first-class amenities and entertainment like they will in Orlando. Still, the thought of being restricted in the ability to move freely, go where you want, see who you want, and to be without family, means those participating are making sacrifices in order to try completing the basketball season.