LeBron James wasn’t expected to make many public appearances this month after signing with the Los Angeles Lakers in free agency, but he just couldn’t stay away from his new team, and showed up at their Las Vegas Summer League game against the Detroit Pistons on Sunday.
The LeBron hype machine is in full effect already, with broadcasters Mychal Thompson and Bill Macdonald joking about the endless cutaways that Spectrum Sportsnet was making to James.
Social media wasn’t much different, ready to document all of LeBron’s first moments in a Lakers uniform (or at least the $500 shorts half of it):
The is in the building for #LakersSummer pic.twitter.com/L0yW1fDuAh— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) July 15, 2018
July 15, 2018
The is here! #NBASummer pic.twitter.com/UA7RLwIltr— NBA Summer League (@NBASummerLeague) July 15, 2018
And it’s not just the shorts: James is ready to rock some fire Lakers-colored kicks as well, even showing them off on Instagram:
Purple AZG pic.twitter.com/1kDdg2dLkD— Nice Kicks (@nicekicks) July 15, 2018
July 15, 2018
The Lakers actually on the floor were seemingly energized by the King’s presence, starting the game on a 14-3 run run and impressing James with their strong play throughout the first half:
LeBron knows the Lakers summer League roster pretty well. He's calling out guys by name when he likes something they've done.— Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) July 15, 2018
.@Iam_J3 rocks the rim #LakeShow ( : @SpectrumSN & ESPN) pic.twitter.com/L1vRp5SMr4— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) July 15, 2018
LeBron enjoying himself at the Lakers summer league game pic.twitter.com/K7FSRbpHk7— The Render (@TheRenderNBA) July 15, 2018
LeBron gets hyped after Alex Caruso 4-point play pic.twitter.com/xVocG9ngzf— gifdsports (@gifdsports) July 15, 2018
You could say LeBron is enjoying the game pic.twitter.com/Zc28mVUqKC— TV's Harrison Faigen (@hmfaigen) July 15, 2018
James also took the time to say what’s up to a few of his new teammates, dapping up Josh Hart — who is very excited to play alongside James — and saying hello to Brandon Ingram, who also made an overshadowed appearance courtside:
NOW on @espn! #NBASummer@KingJames x @joshhart pic.twitter.com/9rO4FUMW7A— NBA (@NBA) July 15, 2018
New teammates @B_Ingram13 & @KingJames supporting the @lakers. #NBASummer pic.twitter.com/s8r5NBhV8z— NBA Summer League (@NBASummerLeague) July 15, 2018
Speaking of Ingram, Kyle Kuzma had a bit of fun with the third-year forward’s new haircut on Twitter:
“ITS THE THRILLER, THRILLER NIGHT” pic.twitter.com/aWcBHc5Geo— kuz (@kylekuzma) July 15, 2018
Getting back to James, if it didn’t seem real enough that he had joined the Lakers before, it should certainly feel real now. Not all veterans show up to watch their young future teammates suit up in Las Vegas Summer League, and superstars of James’ ilk almost never do.
The fact that he and so many other Lakers that aren’t playing have still been around the team is a great sign for the Lakers’ culture moving forward, and the team’s chemistry seems to be off to a great start.
You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.