LeBron James provided an emphatic reminder that he’s still the king during his much-anticipated first matchup with New Orleans Pelicans‘ rookie sensation Zion Williamson on Tuesday night.
Midway through the second quarter, the Los Angeles Lakers got out on a fast break led by Alex Caruso who passed the ball between his legs to a driving James who finished with a monster highlight-reel dunk that brought the Staples Center to its feet.
Earlier in the first half, Williamson had a breakaway dunk of his own when Lonzo Ball found him in the open court for a powerful two-handed slam.
James is playing with a sharp sense of focus and intensity in the high-profile game. The four-time MVP went on a personal 11-0 run in the third quarter, including a step-back three-point shot against Williamson.
Tuesday’s game marked the first meeting between the 19-year-old rookie phenom and the 35-year-old three-time NBA champion.
Zion Williamson Was a Fan of LeBron James Growing Up
The NBA’s most recent No. 1 overall draft pick, Zion Williamson, is in the midst of the most hyped rookie season since 2003 when LeBron James made the jump from high school to kick off his professional career.
When James took the floor for the first time with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Williamson was three years old.
Leading up to Tuesday’s anticipated first matchup between the two, the 19-year-old Williamson talked about how he grew up as a fan of James.
“I used to watch him all the time, especially when he was in Cleveland the first time, he was just an incredible player to watch, he always held his own,” Williamson said. “Sometimes I feel he doesn’t get the respect he deserves but it’s not for me to decide.”
Williamson has made a seamless transition to the pro game through his first 12 contests, averaging 22.8 points and 7.2 rebounds.
The Pelicans are 7-5 since Williamson’s return from a knee injury in January and have won five out of their last six games to get within 3 games of the 8th and final playoff spot in the West.