LeBron James excited for season opener: ‘Like the first day of school’
LeBron James is set to embark upon his 17th NBA season, but the Los Angeles Lakers superstar admits he still gets pretty amped up ahead of opening night.
The Lakers and Clippers open up their 2019-20 schedule Tuesday night with a showdown at Staples Center. Such a marquee matchup obviously heightens the anticipation, but James said the first game of every season elicits excitement in him. In fact, James compared season openers to the first day of class while making note that his 2018-19 campaign closed with him on the bench.
“Opening night is great. It’s like the first day of school,” James said, per Sacha Pisani of Sporting News. Laying your clothes out the night before. Just that excitement of getting things back going.
“I love to play the game. I obviously had the longest lay-off of my career, so to be where I’m at physically and mentally, no matter who we opened up against. For everybody, Tuesday is a great day.”
James might be more eager than usual for the season to get underway in light of the backlash to his recent criticism of Daryl Morey over the Houston Rockets general manager’s tweet in support of pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.
James’ polarizing comments further intensified the ongoing firestorm surrounding the tenuous relationship between the NBA and China. The drama has developed into a troubling distraction for the league, and it is showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
With that in mind, like James, it’s likely the NBA can’t wait for the season to get started as well. The case can be made the league believes regular-season action will help drown out some of the noise of the China controversy, although that may not play out as well as the NBA hopes.