LeBron James’ comments on new Los Angeles Lakers guard Ben McLemore are making the rounds. After The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported McLemore is joining the Lakers, James’ tweet about the new L.A. guard started going viral.
James praised McLemore which is not a surprise as they share the same Klutch Sports agent Rich Paul, but the tweet came all the way back in 2013. McLemore is now the sixth Lakers player represented by Klutch Sports on the roster.
“They sleeping on Ben McLemore,” James tweeted on July 27, 2013. “Just watch.”
James’ tweet came on the night of the NBA draft showing how highly regarded McLemore was coming out of Kansas. McLemore has been unable to live up to the hype of being the No. 7 pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, but the guard has shown flashes of being a productive player.
As Heavy detailed prior to the signing, McLemore holds a lot of upside for being the final player on the Lakers’ roster. The addition of McLemore combined with Andre Drummond likely means we are looking at the team’s playoff roster barring a last-minute surprise heading into the postseason.
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LeBron Apologized for Dunking on the Newest Laker During His Rookie Season
James later gave McLemore his “Welcome to the NBA” moment as he dunked on the then-rookie Kings guard when he was still with the Heat. At the time, James later apologized for having to embarrass McLemore.
“It sucks that it was him because I like him,” James said, per FanSided.
McLemore was most recently with the Rockets after stints with the Kings and Grizzlies. The guard was a key player last season during the Rockets’ playoff run. It was James and the Lakers that defeated the Rockets in the second round, and McLemore took to Instagram to congratulate the legend.
“Man….Far from where I wanted the road to end,” McLemore said in September 2020. “Time to get back in the lab and get better!! Hats off to my guy LJ, one of the most fun to compete against, ever.”
McLemore Started 23 Games for the Rockets Last Season
Months later, McLemore is now teammates with James, but it may be some time before he is able to share the court with him. James is continuing to recover from a high-ankle sprain which is expected to sideline the All-Star at least another month. With all of the Lakers’ recent injuries, it would not be a surprise if the team counted on McLemore sooner rather than later.
McLemore fell out of favor in the Rockets rotation this season averaging 7.4 points and 2.1 rebounds while shooting 33% from behind the arc in just 16.8 minutes per contest. The new Lakers guard shot better than 40 percent from three-point range in his previous two seasons and is expected to give the team some much-needed shooting.
McLemore averaged 10.1 points, 2.2 rebounds and 22.8 minutes (including 23 starts) during the 2019-20 season. His former coach Mike D’Antoni praised McLemore during their time together with the Rockets.
“I love Ben,” D’Antoni told ESPN during a December 2019 interview. “All he was lacking was confidence and an opportunity.”
James is another person who has expressed confidence in McLemore throughout his career. No sleeping on McLemore anymore as James is teammates with the guard nearly eight years after his initial praise.