The first-ever regular season meeting between Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James, a 15-year veteran, and Los Angeles Lakers rookie guard Lonzo Ball arrived on Thursday night with a great deal of fanfare. A national television audience witnessed the matchup between a player who’s already a lock for the Hall of Fame and one who has the potential to reach that status after having been the second overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft.
Following the Cavaliers’ 121-112 victory, the two players briefly talked to each other, with neither one indicating to the media after the game what was discussed. However, a courtside microphone managed to capture the conversation, which involved James offering advice on how to navigate the pressure of trying to succeed in the NBA.
“Find your zone and just stay f–king locked in,” James said. “The media is going to ask you what I told you right now. Tell them nothing. Just be aggressive every single day. … It’s white noise to you. That’s all it is. All right? Let’s go.”
James’ mentoring of Ball might seem strange for fans who remember earlier this year when James warmed up before a game by seemingly mocking Ball’s unorthodox jump-shooting style. In addition, James took exception to remarks by Ball’s controversial father, LaVar, that referenced James’ son, LeBron James Jr.
The Cavaliers and Lakers will meet again this season on Mar. 11 in Los Angeles. Due to the fact that James can become a free agent after this season, countless rumors have been floated about James signing with the Lakers in July to team with Ball. James owns two mansions in the Los Angeles area, though he has generally dismissed such talk in the past.