The preseason debut for LeBron James in a Los Angeles Lakers uniform is officially in the books. The three-time NBA champion wore the purple and gold for the first time on Sunday night in San Diego and kicked started a new era for the storied franchise.
As anticipated, James didn't play much in his first preseason game for the Lakers logging only 15 minutes. However, that's more than he thought he'd be on the floor at Valley View Casino Center.
“I played a little bit more than expected actually and I felt pretty good,” James said.
In those 15 minutes, LeBron scored nine points while dishing three assists and grabbing three rebounds. The Lakers ultimately fell to the Denver Nuggets, but there were flashes of brilliance from time to time by James and company.
Following his debut, he talked about what it was like playing in a Lakers jersey for the first time and hearing the cheers from the crowd when he made his way to the court on Sunday night.
“It was great to get back on the floor,” James said. “Start a new journey for myself. Hear the Lakers fans we have here in San Diego was a great feeling to go out there and hear the roar from the fans here, so very much appreciated.”
Lakers fans gave James a huge ovation when he came out of the tunnel and during when he was announced in the starting lineup before tipoff. The perennial All-Star also talked about changing uniforms once again and what the experience is like this time around.
“It always feels different for me anytime you change uniforms,” James said of changing teams. “Felt different when I changed from St. Vincent-St. Mary's jersey to a Cavs jersey from a Cavs jersey to a Heat jersey back to a Cavs jersey and now being a Laker.”
James also admits that it is going to take some time to get used to playing in purple and gold after being with the Cleveland Cavaliers for so long and a four-year stint with the Miami Heat.
“It definitely feels different. It's going to take a little bit of time to get used to.”
Along with adjusting to the bright lights of Los Angeles and all that entails, LeBron also talked about what happened on the floor against the Nuggets. The four-time NBA MVP likes what he saw out of Brandon Ingram, especially on the offensive side of the floor.
“I find rhythm with anybody that is very energetic offensively, and that's a guy who moves without the ball, and my first assist was to him,” James said of Ingram. “They just move it on the weak side, and I was able to deliver a pass to him.”
Ingram had a solid performance on Sunday finishing with the second-highest point total on the team. The third-year forward put up 16 points to go along with four rebounds, two steals, one block, and an assist. JaVale McGee led the way for the Lakers with a team-high 17 points. Kyle Kuzma had 15 points off the bench.
On Tuesday, LeBron and the new-look Lakers will get back to work back at the Staples Center. The team will face the Nuggets for a second straight game before hosting the Sacramento Kings on Thursday.