LeBron James is in the midst of his third season as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers. Throughout that span, LeBron was instrumental in bringing in the bridge to the next era in Anthony Davis. James also brought the NBA championship back to LA and passed Lakers icon Kobe Bryant on the NBA’s all-time scoring list in the same season.
But one thing he hasn’t done is hosted an NBA playoff game back in Staples Center.
With the COVID-19 pandemic bringing everything to a halt last season, the NBA bubble became the site of the Lakers’ amazing playoff run. While that experience was special in its own right, being able to play in front of a (sort of) packed home arena in Staples Center is a different beast altogether.
The moment is not lost on LeBron James, who spoke out about what it meant:
LeBron on first playoff game for the Lakers at Staples Center since 2013 in Game 3: "It's going to be pretty special for our fans. … That's what I came here for to be able to play a playoff game in front of the Lakers faithful."
— Ryan Ward (@RyanWardLA) May 26, 2021
The Lakers battled through adversity in Game 1 to even the series at one game apiece against a gritty Phoenix Suns team. Many considered LA as the favorites despite being the lower seed, but James and Co. know better than to overlook their opponent. With the series shifting back to California, look for the Lakers to be a little extra motivated with a juiced up crowd.
Game 3 of Lakers-Suns is on Thursday night.