With a mahogany teakwood-scented candle from White Barn burning in the empty locker stall next to him, LeBron James set the mood for his debut with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Before the Lakers embarked on what could be a roller-coaster season, James was a picture of tranquility. With the likes of NBA commissioner Adam Silver and Nike co-founder Phil Knight on hand to watch, James played in his first regular-season game with his new team Thursday night against the Portland Trail Blazers.
It felt like a major event, bigger than your typical season opener, with all the hype that has followed James joining the Lakers. Before the Lakers madness started, James listened to his pregame music while wearing a Nike T-shirt with an ad of himself wearing a Lakers jersey.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale
He seemed oblivious to the row of cameras and reporters capturing his every move in a cramped visitors locker room at the Moda Center. As he put on his warm-up gear, an “NBA 2K” video game commercial with James in it played on a television near his locker.
Up until Thursday, no one could really know what the Lakers would look like in a real game outside of simulating it on a video game. Still, James liked what he saw in the preseason.
“I love what we have done so far, I love our potential, but only time will tell,” James said at the Lakers’ morning shootaround. “And this is the first step of a long journey for us.”
The attention and hype surrounding the Lakers and James since the star decided to move to Los Angeles in free agency has been intense.
Before the team left for Portland, head coach Luke Walton stopped by the office of Lakers controlling owner Jeanie Buss at the team’s training facility. The two talked about how long it has seemed since James joined the team in early July to the season opener.
“It feels like it’s been about a week. It does,” Walton said of the time flying. “It’s funny, from my seat, being a coach, I said it feels like a week ago that all this happened. She was like, ‘I feel like it was five months ago.’ It’s been awhile for her; for me, it’s been short. I think that’s me just being a coach and knowing how much more I’d like to get in. It’s gone quickly.”cheap nfl jerseys china nike
The Lakers certainly hope it won’t take long for their young core of prospects, including Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart, to adjust to playing alongside James. In the two other times James debuted with a new team, it took awhile for him and his new teammates to adapt to one another.