LeBron James gestured towards the NBA championship trophies on display through the glass window of Lakers owner Jeanie Buss’ office and expressed his desire to add another to the franchise’s 17 titles. As he embarks on his 21st year in the league, James remains hungry for his fifth championship and hopes to see the Lakers raise another banner to surpass their rivals, the Boston Celtics. While acknowledging his innate drive, James also credits the talent and potential of the 2023-24 Lakers roster for motivating him even further towards the ultimate goal.
James expressed that his desire to maintain greatness and achieve his career goals, coupled with the image of the Larry O’Brien Trophy in his mind every day, serves as his motivation. He considers hoisting the trophy as one of the top four moments of his career. His drive to be legendary in basketball and let his game speak for itself for years to come also pushes him forward. Furthermore, he credits his team for motivating him, as they challenge each other and work hard every day to improve and implement their strategies.
According to James, it’s not the trash-talking from opposing teams that drives him, even when it comes from the Nuggets, who the Lakers will be playing against in their regular season opener on Tuesday night in Denver. Rather, it’s his three children, Bronny (19), Bryce (16), and Khuri (8), who motivate him. During media day, James stated that “I’m going to dedicate this season to Bronny because of what happened to him this summer”. During a team workout, Bronny suffered cardiac arrest, most likely due to a congenital heart defect. However, after undergoing successful surgery, he is recovering well and aiming to return to play for the Trojans this season.
In 2019, LeBron James was pictured with his son Bronny after a basketball game at Sierra Canyon High School. James’s other children are also involved in sports, with Bryce playing basketball at Campbell Hall and Zhuri playing volleyball. Family is of great importance to James, as he has stated that they are his motivation. While he still enjoys competing against the best, he no longer needs opponents to motivate him. He is self-motivated and feels fulfilled by his family. James’s love for his children is his driving force.
As James approaches his 39th birthday in December, he is about to start his sixth season with the Lakers. In 2020, he helped the team secure an NBA championship. Despite knowing that the Lakers have boasted some of the league’s all-time greatest players, including Kobe, Magic, Kareem, Shaq, Jerry West, and Wilt, James is unsure how he came to be a Laker. He arrived with the intention of not just making a brief appearance but helping the franchise return to the postseason. Before his arrival, the Lakers had missed the playoffs for five or six consecutive seasons. His ultimate goal was to win another Larry O’Brien Trophy for the team and put it back in Jeanie Buss’ office, which he achieved. James now aims to continue winning and adding more trophies to the team’s collection. While he acknowledges the question of how he became a Laker, he believes his job has been to keep the franchise relevant in a basketball sense on the court, which he has done since joining the team.
James provided an update on his right foot injury that kept him out of 27 games in the previous season, saying it’s now feeling “great” after taking some time to heal. He mentioned not having to think about it as much and that he feels like his motor is back. The Nuggets have been boasting about their victory over the Lakers in the Western Conference finals and even jokingly referred to Denver coach Mike Malone as “the Lakers’ daddy.” Malone, in turn, joked about James’ retirement after the Lakers lost to the Nuggets. James seemed to address Malone’s comments on Instagram, implying that he’s still the best player around. When asked about the talk surrounding him, James said there will come a time when everyone will understand his greatness. In other news, Lakers guard Gabe Vincent is available for the season opener, while forward Jarred Vanderbilt is likely to be unavailable due to a sore left heel, and rookie Jalen Hood-Schifino is still under evaluation.