The Los Angeles Lakers have finished all over their scrimmage games and are ready to take part in the first real game in several months. Less than two months before the NBA suspended the season, the team lost one of their most cherished alumni when Kobe Bryant and eight others died in a helicopter crash. Lakers leader LeBron James has taken it upon himself to honor his fallen friend this season by wearing a sleeve on his finger with the number 24 on it.
He showed off the finger sleeve and sent a strong message ahead of the Lakers’ first game against the Clippers on Thursday night.
Everybody knows that Kobe was all about winning all the time. Perhaps the best way to honor the Lakers great is to bring another championship to the team he spent 20 years with.
No ‘Zero Dark Thirty-23’ for LeBron?
There will only be eight seeding games before the start of the playoffs so the Lakers will be playing some very important games soon. LeBron has always taken the playoffs incredibly seriously and institutes a “Zero Dark Thirty-23” rule where he completely blacks out all of his social media accounts. However, the NBA bubble presents a new set of challenges so LeBron will have to change some things.
“It’s definitely going to have a different mindset, different feel to it,” James told the media on Tuesday. “I won’t be turning my phone off during this run. I can’t afford to. I have to continue to check in with my family every single day.”
LeBron’s logic makes perfect sense. Usually, he’d be able to go to his family after a hard-fought playoff game. Unfortunately, that won’t be the case this time as he will just go back to his hotel room with his teammates. That said, he made it clear that he’ll still be as focused as ever.
“I’ll be as locked in as I can be under the circumstances,” James said. “I won’t cheat my teammates, I won’t cheat our fans and I won’t cheat myself. I’ll be ready to go.”
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Danny Green Talks LeBron
Over his long career, LeBron has made it clear that he’s one of the best postseason performers in all of sports. JR Smith has a ton of experience playing with the superstar and has played in a lot of playoff games with him. Smith doesn’t believe LeBron changes his demeanor in the playoffs.
“Honestly, he’s the same person, bro,” Smith said on the recent “Inside the Green Room with Danny Green” podcast. “I’m not going to lie to you. He will start reading more, though. He’ll start reading more. He’ll get off social media and he’ll read. He will do that. But other than that, he’s the same person.”
The Lakers have great team chemistry and much of that is due to LeBron. He’s yet to play a playoff game with this specific group of players but it should be an easy transition for the veteran team.