LeBron James put on a show in his first game inside the NBA’s bubble on Thursday night.
While he struggled to find his shot for much of the game between his Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Clippers, he sealed up the victory in with clutch plays on both ends of the court late in the game.
Former Cleveland Cavaliers teammate Tristan Thompson used that performance to defend his belief that James is still the best player in the league.
“LeBron Raymone James Sr. is definitely the best player in the NBA, hands down,” he said as he thumped his chest. “Loud and proud. Yes, [Marcellus] Wiley, I’m saying it. I’m saying it and everyone knows it. Everyone that watches basketball knows it.”
Thompson then broke down how Thursday’s matchup between the Lakers and Clippers perfectly encapsulated James’ greatness.
“We all know LeBron didn’t shoot it great last night,” he said. “He shot 31 percent from the field, but he dominated many aspects. One thing a man told me growing up, ‘Fast horses don’t ride long.’ So with LeBron, first three quarters he wasn’t making shots that he usually makes, defensively he might have missed a couple of his rotations, but fourth quarter when the ball and the game is on the line, that man took that ball and made a play. You see the eyes, eyes of a champion.”
For Cavs fans, it’s pretty fantastic to see Thompson defend James with such fervor. The two played together for four seasons in Cleveland. During that time, they helped lead the Cavs to four NBA Finals appearances and one NBA title.
James ended his second tenure with the Cavs when he signed with the Lakers as a free agent in 2018. It will be interesting to see if Thompson chooses to follow a similar path.
Thompson will become a free agent this offseason and could decide to sign with a different squad. If he does, it will mark the end of a wonderful era.
Thompson has played his entire career in Cleveland since being drafted No. 4 overall in the 2011 NBA Draft.