LeBron James Leads Los Angeles Lakers to Victory in Inaugural NBA Cup

LeBron James decided to win the NBA Cup and he won it. The first edition of the new tournament is summarized with the desire of the Los Angeles Lakers star to expand his legend. Close to turning 39 and just months after there was speculation about his retirement, LeBron has allowed himself a penultimate dance. In addition to the team title, the King adds another notch to his revolver with another personal recognition: best player of the tournament.

The Lakers won the final against the Indiana Pacers (123-109) after a great game by LeBron (24 points, 11 rebounds and 4 assists), but above all after a sensational performance by their center Anthony Davis, who with 41 points and 20 rebounds was the lord and master of the area. They won with only two three-pointers in the entire game, something unusual. The LeBron-Davis duo remembered the one who gave the Lakers the championship ring in 2020 in the bubble season. This Saturday, in the final in Las Vegas, they relied on an effective Austin Reaves (28 points off the bench) and the defensive sacrifice of Cam Reddish to deactivate Tyrese Haliburton, the Pacers’ point guard.

The NBA Cup is a tournament within a tournament. Except for the final, these are regular season matches organized so that they also serve for the cup without overloading the calendar. The Lakers have gone a perfect 7-0 in the new championship games, while in the rest of the league they have had more losses than wins. That gives an idea of ​​the special motivation he has provided for LeBron James’ team and his hunger for triumphs.

The King has an MVP collection second only to Michael Jordan. He has been the best player in the regular season four times, the best in the finals four times (the four in which he was champion: 2012, 2013, 2016 and 2020), three times the best in the All-Star game (in which he has played 19 years, another record) and now, the best of the new tournament.

For the head of the NBA, Adam Silver, the fact that the NBA Cup ends with the Lakers champions and LeBron James as the best player is the icing on the cake to the success of the invention of bringing the emotion of the cup to the NBA. Silver allowed himself to make a joke to LeBron when he handed it to him: “The last trophy, the MVP Cup for outstanding play throughout the tournament, to a man who, frankly, has nothing else to win in this league. All I can say is, ‘I’m sorry, but he doesn’t come with a franchise,'” he said. The commissioner was referring to LeBron’s declared interest in owning an NBA team precisely in Las Vegas, the city of the final.

After the game, the King, a successful businessman beyond sports, confirmed those plans: “My enthusiasm for being here after my career, for bringing a team, has not changed. The NBA will be another great contribution to this city.” The NBA preseason league is held in Las Vegas, but it is not home to any team. The city of gambling has made a strong commitment to sport to revitalize itself and complete its leisure and entertainment offer. In addition to the NBA Cup, it will host a Formula 1 grand prix starting this year and will host the Super Bowl in 2024. LeBron maintains contacts with partners to make his plans for the city to be in the NBA a reality.

Before becoming an owner, the King continues to test the limits of sporting longevity. “Like any kid born in 2000, LeBron was my favorite player growing up,” rival star Haliburton said before facing him. At this start of the season, LeBron is averaging 25 points per game. Without him, the last time a player from his team (1984) achieved something like that was Carmelo Anthony 10 years ago. His quality and his long career (this is his 21st season in the NBA: his sixth with the Lakers after 11 in Cleveland and four in Miami) have allowed him to break one record after another. The most desired was one destined to remain for decades, the one with the highest score in the regular season, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s 38,387 points, valid from 1989 until he beat it last February.

LeBron James watches his son, Bronny James, play in his debut this Sunday with the University of Southern California (USC) university team. Mark J. Terrill (AP)

With that record under his belt, speculation about the star’s retirement skyrocketed at the end of last season, when the Lakers lost with a resounding defeat to Nikola Jokić’s Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference finals. In the end, he himself drove that ghost away. At 2.06 meters tall and with a marvelous physique, he has shown that he is still capable of being in the elite. The NBA Cup was presented as more affordable, for one last title in his career, although the Lakers have shown that they can also put up a fight in the spring.

LeBron’s longevity is such that he is now facing the children of those who were his rivals at the beginning of his career. He played against Jabari Smith and now Jabari Smith Jr does; against Rick Brunson and Jalen Brunson; against Gary Payton and Gary Payton II, and so on up to nine father-sons. His dream, in reality, is to play with his own son, Bronny James, who this Sunday was making his debut for the University of Southern California (USC) Trojans after recovering from a heart problem. In the front row, standing up, LeBron celebrated his son’s first basket, a triple. Bronny will initially be eligible in next year’s draft and if it depends on LeBron, the Lakers will sign him to play with him. It would be his last dance.

You can follow EL PAÍS Deportes on Facebook and Xor sign up here to receive our weekly newsletter.

Subscribe to continue reading

Read without limits


2023-12-11 04:50:27
#LeBron #James #penultimate #dance #Basketball #Sports


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *