Lakers News: Lonzo Ball Says LeBron James 'Takes Pressure Off' Young LA Players

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorDecember 25, 2018

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 21:  LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers drives to the basket on Jrue Holiday #11 of the New Orleans Pelicans after a screen from Lonzo Ball #2 during a 112-104 Laker win at Staples Center on December 21, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

Los Angeles Lakers point guard Lonzo Ball told Bill Oram of The Athletic on Monday that having LeBron James on the team "takes pressure off" him and young teammates.

"I would say it takes pressure off of me and the rest of the young guys,” Ball said. "Obviously you have LeBron, the best player in the world, all the attention’s on him. A lot of the wins and losses are targeted towards him. I know he’s dealt with that his whole career so he’s fine with it. But myself, it’s taken the spotlight off a little bit, just making things a little easier for me."

The pressure has been on Ball ever since he joined UCLA in 2016. He's received plenty of attention in part because of his loquacious father, LaVar, who started the Big Baller Brand and appeared on seemingly every sports television show for a year-long period. Ball even has his own page on the USA Today website (Lonzo Wire).

Ball was the focal point on a young Lakers team last season and felt immense pressure to improve a franchise that hasn't made the playoffs since 2013.

L.A. did go from 26-56 to 35-47 with Ball running the point. However, he took much criticism along the way in part because of a faltering jumper.

That being said, James is one of a few NBA players who can say they have felt more pressure than Ball given his national status ever since he was in high school. His expectations were to be one of the best players in the history of the game, which is hard for anyone to handle.

James has met those challenges head-on, but he still makes news nearly every time he talks. He does an excellent job handling that attention, which has helped turn the spotlight away from Ball more this year.

The 19-14 Lakers take on the Golden State Warriors at 8 p.m. ET on Tuesday.


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