The Los Angeles Lakers are heading to their first Western Conference Finals series since 2010, when Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, and Phil Jackson were leading the team. 10 years later, they are back with LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Frank Vogel. Although Davis and Vogel have been more than exceptional in their roles this season as Gasol and Jackson were, this train’s locomotive will always be LeBron James.
The Lakers haven’t won a championship either since that 2010 season, with LeBron joining the Lakers in the summer of 2018 to bring this franchise back to its championship roots. He’s only eight wins away from doing that, as he was asked by reporters last night about why it was so important for him to get the Lakers back to this stage (transcribed from Harrison Faigen/Silver Screen & Roll and Tania Ganguli/LA Times).
“I understand the Laker faithful and what they felt or maybe were going through over … the last decade of not being in the postseason, or not competing for championships,” James said. “I took that responsibility as well. I’m happy I’m able to do a little bit of a part of it and the rest of my ballclub and the coaching staff and everybody who’s [made] the sacrifice of trying to get us back, getting this franchise back to competing for a championship, which we’ve done all year.”
Full quote below:
Tonight, LeBron was asked about why it was so important for him to get the Lakers back to contention when he joined them.
Here was his full answer: pic.twitter.com/DzCGE65SFs
— Playoff Faigen (@hmfaigen) September 13, 2020
LeBron James has spoken many times about the pride he feels in wearing a Lakers jersey. He talked about the franchise as recently as the first-round series when talking about the “honor” he had in playing for the Lakers on Kobe Bryant day.
It’ll be interesting to see where we put LeBron at in terms of all-time Lakers greats, especially if he wins a championship this year with seemingly multiple opportunities in the future to win more if Anthony Davis re-signs with the Lakers. He’ll probably never play long enough with the Lakers to approach the Kobe Bryants or Magic Johnsons of the Lakers’ history, but he could be right on the outside looking into the top-five if he wins a couple of rings in L.A.