LeBron James showed up to play at the popular pro-am Drew League in Los Angeles over the weekend, and the 4x NBA champ put up an impressive stat line while letting it be known he feels totally ready for the new NBA season. James and fellow pro baller DeMar Derozan suited up for the MMV Cheaters on Saturday, and they took down the Black Pearl Elite with a final score of 104-102.
The Los Angeles Lakers forward ended his showing with 42 points, 16 rebounds, and four steals. But his post-game comment to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin is where James clearly put the league on notice and said, “I’m 100% healthy.”
James is entering his 19th season in the NBA, and he has continued to play at a high level despite logging a colossal number of minutes over his career. He currently ranks third all-time for most minutes played (behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone).
However, James’ heavy workload and his intense style of play may have finally become too much for even his noted hyperconscious self-care routine to help anymore. The 2003-2004 Rookie of the Year was forced to sit out the end of the 2021-2022 season with an ankle injury, thereby assuring the Lakers didn’t even make the playoffs.
James’ former Cleveland Cavaliers teammate Kyrie Irving was noticeably absent from this weekend’s Drew League games. The All-Star point guard apparently backed out of an agreed-upon appearance, and the no-show only added to the image of Irving’s unpredictability.
It was later revealed that Irving was at the Mamba Sports Academy, working with L.A. Lakers assistant coach Phil Handy and the young campers. Irving’s association with Handy only fueled speculation that a James-Irving reunion in Tinseltown may be in the works. Nevertheless, King James’ geniality and performance at the Drew League turned some of his opponents into fans.
Ethan Alvano of Black Pearl Elite said the following of James to ESPN: “For him to be here and come to the middle of the ‘hood where regular people are every day that look up to him, he’s a superstar so for him to come here and grace these people with his presence, I think it’s super dope. I’m glad he did it and it’s great for the community.”
Check out how Twitter reacted to James and other NBA players showing up to ball out in the Drew League.