LeBron James is set to begin his first campaign with the Los Angeles Lakers where there has been plenty of excitement and buzz around the franchise from the fanbase.
During an interview with Bill Rieter on “Rieter’s Block” on CBS Sports HQ on Wednesday, Hall of Famer and former Lakers great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar divulged what James can expect from the fans. (Colin Ward-Henninger of CBS Sports)
“I think the fans in Southern California are pretty seasoned,” Abdul-Jabbar said. “They understand what it takes to really be a contending team. So they won’t put a whole lot of pressure on LeBron to do it all by himself, because they realize that no one can do it by themselves. But I expect them to enjoy seeing his excellence and his leadership, and the younger players will have somebody to show them how to win. That’s a very important aspect of learning the professional game, and LeBron has a lot to share in that regard.”
Abdul-Jabbar has plenty of experience playing in Los Angeles where he helped guide the most successful stretch in franchise history with the Showtime Lakers helping them win five NBA titles in eight trips to the NBA Finals. This has given him a great feel for the fanbase that he has been a huge part of them experiencing the mountain peak of fandom.
It is a situation that James is entering that he brings a huge amount of expectations surrounding him given the caliber of player he has become the best player in the league that has been to eight straight NBA Finals winning three titles along the way. The 33-year-old is leading a team that has missed the playoffs in the last five years while they have a plethora of unproven young talent that he will have to help groom into playoff ready players that can contend for a championship.
The arrival of James has now put the Lakers on the map where he has a prime opportunity in front of him of bringing the franchise not only back to relevancy in the league but also compete for an NBA title behind his play and leadership.