When LeBron James signed a four-year deal with the Los Angeles Lakers this summer, the immediate expectation for the team was to contend for a championship. While some would argue that’s an unrealistic expectation for a young team coming off of its first 35-win season in five years, adding James is enough to make players feel like anything is possible.
Before the Lakers’ regular season opener on Thursday, James told Dave McMenamin of ESPN that his championships aspirations haven’t changed just because he’s on a new team.
“It’s just my goal. It’s always been my goal ... maybe the last 10 or 11 years where I felt like it’s championships,” James said. “I want to win championships, and putting my mind into that and thinking about it. I think when you have championship habits, you have championship thoughts, and things come into fruition.
”Obviously there’s only one champion at the end of the road, and you can’t dictate wins and losses, things of that nature, but you can approach every day like a champion. And if you do that, you put yourself in a position to be successful. Either individually or as a team, or whatever the case is.”
If the Lakers have any chance to win an NBA championship this season, it’s because of James, who has appeared in each of the last eight NBA Finals. However, in order for the team to go from pretenders to contenders, the young core of Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma will all have to step up in a big way.
It’s a daunting task for any player, let alone players with only a year of NBA experience under their belt, but Lonzo Ball told Kristen Ledlow of Turner Sports that it’s one he and his teammates are up for.
.@KristenLedlow just said that Lonzo told her today "We want to win a championship... We got the supporting cast, we got the best player in the world, we believe that this is our year."— Harrison Faigen (@hmfaigen) October 19, 2018
The Lakers might not have looked like a championship contender in their regular season-opening loss to the Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday, but that is to be expected of a team with an almost entirely new roster. Hopefully by the NBA All-Star break, we’ll have a better idea if the Lakers are right, and they’re in for a deep playoff run, or if they’re just en route to an early vacation.
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