The Los Angeles Lakers have been eliminated from NBA play since their final home game of the regular season on April 9, but LeBron James has apparently had enough rest.
Monday morning was far from James’ first time in the practice facility since the end of the regular season — his most famous appearance was when the weight room served as a backdrop for his denial of a rift with the team’s higher-ups — but he decided to hit the gym extra early on Memorial Day, with his Instagram story showing him walking in at 4:48 a.m. for a workout:
LeBron was in the Lakers practice facility working out at 4:48 a.m. today pic.twitter.com/GKGvVoy8fr— Harrison Faigen (@hmfaigen) May 27, 2019
Getting in an early workout to get ready for a huge Memorial Day barbecue? LeBron James, he’s just like us, and has never been more relatable. Work off those calories, King.
In all seriousness, almost all players work out during the offseason. LeBron isn’t different in this respect. Still, it’s probably nice for Lakers fans to see him in the gym, getting ready for a bounce-back season that seems to be almost guaranteed given how clearly annoyed he appears to be by people counting him out.
Don’t know what I mean? Well, since James was voted third team All-NBA on Thursday — the first time since the 2006-07 season that he did not make the first team — he has posted two separate things on Instagram that suggest he is at the very least mildly irritated with so many people counting him out:
Hell, he’s even challenged a high schooler to a shooting competition (which he won):
View this post on Instagram
I got called out by my guy and in my opinion the best shooters(he can do more too) for the Class of 2023 @gcupps23 today. Told him about a certain switch I can hit when needed and he didn’t believe me. Well he found out the hard way! . Still my guy Cupps nevertheless . #repost @ballislife
Am I reading too deeply into a few Instagram posts? Maybe! Still, it’s hard not to see his early-morning dispatches from the gym as a message to Lakers fans, and the NBA community writ large — “I’m still here, I’m still working and I’m not going out like this.”
Again, maybe that’s too deep of a read, but even if it is, this is at least evidence that James is not ready to go easy into the night just yet. He’s still going to hit the weights all summer, and he’s going to be ready for the bounce back his head coach believes is coming next season.
Until then, Lakers fans will just have to settle for watching him on Instagram. And just maybe, if a few things break right, this offseason work will result in him still playing at this time next year.