The Los Angeles Lakers came up short against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday night in what was the first matchup between rookie Lonzo Ball and his idol growing up, LeBron James.
Both players showed off their all-around games, though of course James was far more along. He finished with a triple-double of 25 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists. Ball also did extremely well, with 13 points, 11 assists, and eight rebounds.
Ball and James have been equally complimentary of one another over recent weeks, and they shared a postgame conversation at halfcourt, during which James used his jersey to cover his mouth.
While neither went into the specifics of their conversation, LeBron again had high praise for the Lakers rookie as he explained why Ball is someone players would enjoy playing with, via Serena Winters:
“It’s always team. He passes the ball, pushes the ball up the floor. That’s someone that you want to play with. This is a team game. Everyone gets so caught up in this individual thing, so the team game gets so overlooked. He’s a really good player.”
If there is one person who can understand the kind of pressure Lonzo is under as a rookie, it is LeBron. James was on magazine covers and had his every moved followed while he was still in high school. He was expected to dominate from day one in the NBA and every mistep was crucified.
Lonzo is under that same intense microscope thanks to the constant words of his father, LaVar. Every bad game and missed shot is a cause for concern, and many are already writing him off as a bust. LeBron is just the latest in a number of NBA players to compliment Ball for his style of play.
Of course, some will look at LeBron’s words and wonder if that means he wants to play with Lonzo. Those rumors will continue until LeBron decides where he wants to play next season, but the Lakers are reportedly a longshot to land him.
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