LeBron James Says He Loves Lonzo Ball's Humility, Discusses Rookie Parallel

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistDecember 13, 2017

Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James is defended by Indiana Pacers' Thaddeus Young during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Dec. 8, 2017, in Indianapolis. The Pacers won 106-102. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Darron Cummings/Associated Press

Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James praised Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball on Tuesday, with a clash between the Cavs and Lakers on the horizon.

According to ESPN.com's Dave McMenamin, LeBron is impressed with Ball's selflessness: "The kid hasn't said anything. It's been everybody else. So, I love his humility. He goes out, every time someone asks him a question, he says, 'This is not about me, man. I just want to win. I don't care about what I did.' I seen he had a triple-double one game and they lost. He was like, 'I don't care. We lost.'"

James also discussed the similarities between his own rookie year and what Ball is going through this season:

"So, can I draw any parallel to my experience? I mean, of course. I guess when you're drafted to a franchise, they want you to kind of be the savior. And it takes a while. I mean, listen, man, this guy is 20-something games into his pro career. S--- doesn't happen [that fast]. Here it goes again, it goes back to my instant oatmeal [quote]: Everybody wants it right away. Can he play ball? Absolutely. The kid can play ball. Do guys want to play with him? Absolutely, because it's a guy who is not about him. It's about the success of the team. And he gives the ball up, and he passes the ball, and there's energy behind the ball."

LeBron and the Cavs will host Ball and the Lakers on Thursday night.

L.A. selected Ball with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 NBA draft out of UCLA, and early reviews have been mixed.

While he is averaging a solid 7.0 assists and 6.9 rebounds per game, Ball is only putting up 8.9 points per contest and shooting at a 32.7 percent clip. He has been even worse from long range at 25.8 percent.

Comparatively, James averaged 20.9 points, 5.9 assists and 5.5 rebounds per game as a rookie in 2003-04 while shooting 41.7 percent from the floor.

LeBron has steadily improved since and is now a 13-time All-Star, four-time MVP, three-time NBA champion and three-time NBA Finals MVP.

Leading up to Thursday's meeting between the Cavs and Lakers, Ball offered a glowing assessment of James as well, saying, "In my opinion, he is the best player in the world. I just feel like he plays the game the right way. He probably can easily go out for 50 every night but focuses on his team, getting triple-doubles and [getting] guys involved. It is my first time playing him. I am looking forward to it, should be a lot of fun."

The Lakers are off to a 10-16 start, which leaves them just 2.5 games out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference. Meanwhile, the Cavaliers are 20-8, 2.5 games behind the Boston Celtics for the top seed in the Eastern Conference.

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