LeBron James

USA Today

LeBron’s Lakers Debut

It was awesome. And weird.

October 19, 2018 - 10:47 am

That was a hell of a night of sports. There are a lot of places I could start. Like with David Price coming up huge and Boston advancing to the World Series. Or with the Denver Broncos backing up Von Miller’s prediction that the Broncos would kick Arizona’s ass to stop the bleeding. And they did. And normally I would go with either one of those, except I’m going with a moment from last night that actually had me out of my chair, in the home office, in utter amazement.

So, on a pretty routine Thursday, doing the same type of thing I do every night: watching games and prepping up for the next day, what could happen they could get me out of my seat and talking to myself in the home office? Let me the set scene for you:

The location: Portland, Oregon

The time: 9 minutes, 26 seconds remaining in the first quarter of the Lakers-Blazers game

The action: Roll it.

I tweeted “Holy crap, LeBron!” But you know that’s not what I said. And I didn’t say it, I actually yelled it out. To myself. Because in that moment, it was that sick. A holy bleep moment: LeBron in his first seconds as a Laker throwing down quote without any regard for human life. And then doing it again a few seconds later. Don’t’ get it twisted, I wasn’t planning any parades, or looking to give him or them the Larry O. But damn, that was something to see. That that old head, can still get out and run, and get up and finish. And you know the younger Lakers he was brought in to lead felt the same way. They’ve never run with anyone like that. Hell, Lonzo Ball says he’s never seen anything like that. And he grew up the son of the greatest Hooper ever. Just ask his old man. 

Yes, I understand they didn’t win. And yes, all the concerns about the Lakers coming in were right there for everyone to see. They still can’t shoot it. Nor could they keep anyone else from shooting on them. I mean, if Nik Stauskas did to them what he did to them, what the hell is going to happen when they run into Harden and Gordon? Is Sauce Castillo is lighting them on fire, what are Steph and Klay going to do to them?

Then again, when was the last time any Laker did anything that you had of your chair saying, holy bleep.

It was awesome. And weird. And weird is good. Because they only thing more bizarre than seeing LeBron running in Laker gear was to see Rajon Rondo doing it next to him.  And even more insane was seeing Lance Stephenson running with both of them and coaching up his younger teammates. And yes, I’m opening the show with a take about a team that lost on opening night. I’m spending a helluva lot time on a team that is currently 0-1. I know they’re winless, I just don’t care. Because that didn’t feel like a regular season game, or even opening night. It felt much bigger than that. In fact, Laker fan, let me ask you… has getting your ass kicked ever felt better? These dudes are fun.  They get out, they push it. And they have this crazy weird mix of crazy old weird dudes, with young guys following them into battle. Oh and JaVale. They have JaVale Freaking McGee. You know I don’t play favorites. But you know who my favorite team in the association is? The team that scratches JaVale his checks. Then again, I know not to get ahead myself. LeBron does too, which why he is preaching patience: “I always kind of compare it to instant oatmeal. It’s not that fast. It takes a while for the chemistry to get to where you close your eyes and you know exactly where your guys are. That’s what we’re going to work towards.”

I see you working. We all remember Miami starting 9-8. When you first got there. And Cleveland being much worse than that, for a longer period of time when you returned home. I know this isn’t going to happen overnight. I know they lost. And it probably will get worse before it gets better, but I liked what I saw last night. They might be winless, but at least they matter again. Something no one has said about this guy in a minute or two. And I say it right now. While I’m not thinking Larry O, I am thinking if they make a three or two and get a hand in someone’s face beyond the arc, they may in fact be a playoff team. Yeah I said it. And I mean it. This year. In this conference. Go put a mural for that old man, because he’s still got something in the tank, and the Lakers once again matter.