LeBron James was back in the lineup for the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday following a two-game absence and it paid dividends for the club. The King logged 37 minutes in his return from an ankle injury and put up 26 points, eight assists and three steals in the contest.
Fans probably could have done without his 1-for-10 performance from three-point range, but they’ll probably let it slide. His comeback still keyed a 113-101 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers that brought the Lake Show back to .500 on the year.
Although James stepping back onto the hardwood was a big moment for his team, it was a surreal one for the four-time NBA champion. And Cavs rookie Evan Mobley was responsible for the weirdness.
James’ Circle of Life Experience
After the game, James couldn’t help but note the significance of squaring off with Mobley. People encountering things that make them feel old is a part of life, but this is some next-level stuff. Via Cleveland.com:
“He’s going to be a damn good basketball player in this league,” James said of Mobley following the Lakers’ 113-101 win. “It’s so crazy because he was just playing against my son a couple years ago. It’s weird. It’s getting more weird by the day. He was playing against my son in the playoffs two years ago and obviously we saw what he did in the tournament — just electrifying. Cleveland has a good one. They’ve done a good job over the years in the draft, I’ll say.”
James’ son, 17-year-old Bronny, is currently starring for Sierra Canyon School. For some time now, there have been rumblings that he and his legendary father could potentially play with or against one another at the NBA level. It’s a scenario that may be asking a lot of both men, but James’ continued dominance and his son’s prep-game ascent may just will it into existence.
At the least, the reality that a 20-year-old Mobley has now gone toe-to-toe with both players makes it feel like a distinct possibility.
In any case, Mobley — who was selected third overall by the Cavs in the 2021 NBA draft — acquitted himself well in his showdown with the old man. In 36 minutes of play, he scored a team-high 23 points, while adding six boards, three assists and two steals (one of which came at James’ expense).
Get all the latest Lakers news, analysis and viral content! Follow the Heavy on Lakers Facebook page!
Anthony Davis Weighs in on Mobley
James wasn’t the only one who was impressed by the things that Mobley was able to do on the court. A number of other Lakers took note of the former USC star, including Anthony Davis.
Entering the draft, there were some who compared Mobley to James’ partner-in-crime. After the game, Davis weighed in on the comparisons and what he saw from Bronny’s one-time rival.
“He’s probably the same size I was coming into the league. Pretty skinny. Elite shot-blocker. Lob threat. Kind of has some of the same things I had when I was coming into the league. But probably shot it a little bit better than me,” assessed Davis.
“His game is going to progress. He’s going to keep getting better and better. You see the potential to be a three-level scorer, watching film on him a little before the game. I seen him shoot the 3. He hit one tonight. I seen him hit the midrange and floaters. He’d go to the post a lot in the game I’ve watched. He has the potential to be very good. It takes time. But I don’t really compare myself to anybody.”