Lakers' LeBron James 'Definitely Not Giving Up on the Season' Amid Pandemic

Megan ArmstrongSenior Analyst IIMay 18, 2020

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James brings the ball up during the first half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2020, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
David Zalubowski/Associated Press

The 49-14 Los Angeles Lakers were one of four teams in the NBA and the only team in the Western Conference to clinch a playoff berth before the league enacted a COVID-19 hiatus on March 12, and LeBron James intends to see the 2019-20 season through.  

"Definitely not giving up on the season," James said during an UNINTERRUPTED discussion Monday. "Myself and my teammates, the Lakers organization, we wanna play. There's a lot of players that I know personally that wanna play."

The 35-year-old continued: "I mean, obviously, we don't ever want to jeopardize the health of any of our players, or any of the players' families. This is a pandemic that we have no idea, we can't control it. We're going to listen to the people in the hierarchy that's been following this pandemic, following the numbers, following the data. ... I want to get back to playing."

The Lakers have re-opened their practice facilities:

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

The Lakers will reopen practice facility this Saturday after receiving clearance from L.A. County government and health officials, per @ShamsCharania https://t.co/DBxHCsyKDE

California Governor Gavin Newsom said earlier Monday that professional sports could resume in the state without fans as early as the first week of June:

Arash Markazi @ArashMarkazi

California Gov. Gavin Newsom says the state could see pro sports return by the first week of June without fans. https://t.co/j4PPg56Yn7

These developments were preceded by James and other notable NBA stars holding a private conference call on May 12 while Commissioner Adam Silver reportedly gave the Board of Governors a timetable to decide whether to resume the 2019-20 season:

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

A group of NBA stars held a private conference call Monday and were all in favor of eventually resuming the season. Players included: LeBron CP3 Steph KD Kawhi Dame Giannis Westbrook (via @ChrisBHaynes) https://t.co/zoJUY48OBb

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Adam Silver told the Board of Governors he's aiming for a 2-4 week timetable on a decision about resuming the season, per @ShamsCharania https://t.co/PQUiEgkS4c

James had said on two different occasions in March that he wouldn't be in favor of playing without fans:

Mark Medina @MarkG_Medina

LeBron James on possibility of NBA playing games behind closed doors because of coronavirus. LeBron: “I ain’t playing” if there are no fans https://t.co/kpHg6bsFYO

USA TODAY Sports @usatodaysports

"What is the word sport without fan?" LeBron James says about the possibility of resuming play in empty stadiums. https://t.co/3u1VXiu2fo

It seems the three-time NBA champion's desire to finish the season has superseded his original opposition to playing in empty arenas.

James was averaging 25.7 points and 10.6 assists in 34.9 minutes per game across 60 starts.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.