During a recent appearance on the “Road Trippin'” show, Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James revealed his pursuit of Dallas Mavericks ascendant star Luka Doncic for a Nike shoe line a few years ago. The Mavs know they have a player who is rising to the very top tier of the NBA, if he isn't already there.
According to James, the team at Nike didn't quite appreciate Luka Doncic's potential, allowing the Serbian stud to sign with the Jordan Brand (which is owned by Nike).
“I wanted to begin ‘Team LeBron' and have Luka (Doncic) as my first signing with Nike,” James told Richard Jefferson, Channing Frye, and Allie Clifton. “I don’t believe that my guys at Nike was ready for that. Obviously they were not, because he ended up going to [Michael] Jordan. I don’t know if Luka knows this.”
Here is the LeBron brand, Luka video. pic.twitter.com/VKuh3anztj
— Mimi (@ItsShowTimeMimi) December 2, 2020
Luka Doncic, who has idolized James, was humbled and at a loss for words when he saw the “Road Trippin'” clip.
“I felt special. It's something you feel about. Obviously, I didn't know it before,” Luka Doncic told the media. “It's something special. Something I can't explain.”
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) December 24, 2020
Luka Doncic and the Mavericks will visit James and the Lakers on Friday in a highly-anticipated Christmas Day matchup. It will be the seventh head-to-head meeting between LeBron and Luka.
“It’s a long way to go to be one of the faces of the league. But it’s something special,” Luka Doncic said, via USA Today. “We play the champions. So it’s going to be something special. I always wanted to play on Christmas Day.”
Speaking to reporters, James repeated his praise for Luka Doncic, and communicated that he's always available for advice, though he's not sure the 21-year old MVP candidate needs any help.
“I’ve always had an open-door policy. You never want to force anything and force a relationship with anybody,” James said following practice Thursday. “Everything he’s doing right now, it doesn’t look like he needs any insight or needs any assistance with what he’s doing. He’s handling being a professional in this league phenomenally.”
Both players will be available to play on Friday. James said he's never missed a Christmas Day and won't start in 2020, while Luka Doncic will play through a sore knee.