Whether it's Ty Lue, Coach K, or Coach Prime, LeBron James is happy to dole out praise to head coaches (as long as they aren't whomever he's playing for at the time). On Friday, following the Los Angeles Lakers' decisive-enough win over the San Antonio Spurs, James dished out praise to Victor Wembanyama after his historic performance, and his coach in Gregg Popovich.

“I've said it since the beginning that he's special,” LeBron said about Wembanyama, who posted 27 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists, five blocks, and five steals, becoming the youngest player in NBA history to post a 5×5 box score. (“That kid is SPECIAL!! 👽” LeBron reiterated on X moments after exiting Crypto.com Arena.)

The Spurs fell to 11-46 with the 123-118 loss to the Lakers (it was a second-half blowout until garbage time) but the Frenchman has steadily improved over the course of his rookie campaign. His numbers have ticked up across the board as his playmaking feel has impressively adapted to the NBA level. Since turning 20 on January 4th (entering Friday), Wembanyama has averaged 22.7 points, 10 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 3.3 blocks, and 1.2 steals on .494/.346/.838 shooting splits.

“He doesn't have a ceiling,” LeBron continued. “He can do whatever he wants to do with his career. It seems like he enjoys the game. It seems like he puts in the work. Just from the outside looking in, I'm not with him on a day-to-day basis, but I said a long time ago how special he was, and it's literally that simple.”

LeBron pointed to one key reason Wemby should be able to fulfill the promise of his “stellar rookie season.”

I think the one thing that Wemby has above all the guys that I kind of named is you see his length. You see how tall he is and his length. This guy next to me,” — referring to Anthony Davis — “possesses a lot of length, and he's like even more than AD. So that what makes it a little bit different.”

Ultimately, though, LeBron's confidence in Wembanyama's development is rooted in the Hall of Famer overseeing it.

“He has an unbelievable coach that's gonna make sure he does things the right way, plays the game the right way,” said LeBron. “He's gonna continue to develop. He's already special, but he's gonna continue to get better and better and better each and every game, each and every year he steps on the floor.”

LeBron, of course, is the only hooper this century — maybe ever — to enter the league with as much external hype as Wemby. In another full-circle LeBron-centric moment on Friday, Malaki Branham, who was named Ohio's Mr. Basketball and led St. Vincent-St. Mary to a state championship 18 years after James, poetically posterized the King in this one.

The Lakers notched the dub thanks to a strong ensemble performance led by Anthony Davis (28 points, 13 rebounds). Still, they couldn't help but express amazement at the rookie's capabilities. Or, in the case of Austin Reaves — who was blocked three times by Wemby — genuine befuddlement.

“I just told Pop after the game: The thing that impresses me the most about him — he's uber-talented, multifaceted, highly skilled — but I think his biggest trait or quality that you can't teach or coach is his competitive nature,” said Darvin Ham. “And he makes winning plays all the time.”

LeBron James wasn't too shabby himself. In his first non-All-Star game since February 13th, James finished with 30 points on 13-of-22 shooting, while also dishing out nine assists and hauling in seven rebounds over 34 minutes of action. He said his lingering left ankle issue — which caused him to miss the game before and after the break — responded fine.

“I was more surprised how good my wind was. My ankle held up pretty good. A little sore but I was able to come out and help the team win. That's most important.”

“It was fun to watch him,” said Popovich. “His age, his conditioning, what he does, he's a miracle. He's something else.”

LeBron said his relationship with Pop, whom he greeted with a pre-tip-off bear hug, transcends basketball.

“The utmost respect. One of the greatest coaches of all time. But more importantly, one of the best people of all time that I've ever been around. I love everything about Coach Pop. To be able to share the floor with him, to be able to talk to him and have a friendship that we have — it's very special to me.”

LeBron, Wemby, Pop. Three beacons of basketball, in different roles and different stages, all going strong. Special indeed.