LeBron James put up another 50-point performance on Friday night, rallying the fans inside Crypto.com Arena during a 122-109 Los Angeles Lakers victory.
After the game, James had a message for the fans, who haven’t been the kindest to the Lakers in recent weeks as they continue to dwell well below the .500 mark.
“Listen, the Laker faithful knows when bad basketball is being played and they know when good basketball is being played. They have the right to have any response they want,” James said. “They’ve seen so many great teams, so many great individuals. … So for me, being a part of this franchise, I feel like I just try to give them an opportunity to have memorable nights as well.”
The comment from James is interesting considering what his teammate Russell Westbrook has been going through. Westbrook has been open about his struggles with fans calling him names — including “Westbrick” — and that it has kept his family from attending home games.
“‘Westbrick,’ for example, to me, is now shaming,” Westbrook said. “It’s shaming my name, my legacy for my kids. It’s a name that means, not just to me, but to my wife, to my mom, my dad, the ones that kind of paved the way for me.”
Russell Westbrook Will Address Criticism
Westbrook said he would make an attempt to stop people from name-calling if he hears it.
“A lot of times, I let it slide. But now it’s time to put a stop to that and put it on notice,” he said. “There’s a difference. We need to make sure it’s understood. And every time I do hear it now, I will make sure that I address it and make sure I nip that in the bud.”
Earlier in the week it was Westbrook’s wife, Nina, who spoke out on the issue.
“I’m tired you [Skip Bayless] calling my husband out of his name,” she tweeted. “It is extremely childish. That is my name as well, and many other peoples names. You’re disrespectful, and I’m extremely offended by your behavior. You should apologize.”
Bayless said he would continue to speak his truth on his show if he felt
LeBron James Gives People Something to Cheer About
It hasn’t been a fun season for the Lakers but James appears ready to carry them on his shoulders as he eyes the NBA scoring title. It was his second 50-point game of the week, having dropped 56 against the Warriors on March 6.
“Try to give them something to cheer for, give them something to feel good about on a nightly basis, and I know it hasn’t been as great as they would like for it to be this year, but you take the small wins when they come,” James said.
James was outstanding from the field, going 18-for-25 (72%), including 6-of-9 on 3-pointers and a perfect 8-of-8 from the free throw line.
It’s easy to forget that James is 37 years old considering his output and head coach Frank Vogel has been left in awe.
“The thing that stands out to me is, like, the league has never seen a player at this stage of his career do what he’s doing,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “I think that’s the biggest thing that needs to be recognized. It’s just unbelievable the level that he’s playing at.”
The Lakers will now look to parlay the win into a second straight, which has been rare of late. They’ll take on the Suns on Sunday.