LeBron James speaks at his foundation's I Promise School in Akron, Ohio, on July 30, 2018.
(Jason Miller/Getty Images)

LeBron: 'Championship Habits' Expected from Self, Lakers Teammates

by Joey Ramirez
Digital Reporter

AKRON, Ohio — Just three weeks into his tenure with the Lakers, LeBron James says he doesn’t have any expectations for how his first season in Los Angeles will develop.

But he does mandate that the guys in his locker room be prepared to put in the same effort that he will.

“You guys know me: When it comes to championship habits, that doesn’t mean you’re bringing a championship,” James said at the unveiling of his foundation’s I Promise School. “That means you practice excellence every day. I expect that from not only myself but my teammates.”

James said that Owner Jeanie Buss, President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson and General Manager Rob Pelinka all share his same expectations for the roster.

But championship habits don’t always repel day-to-day struggles, and James is certainly aware of that.

He is joining a team that returns only a handful of (mostly young) rotation players — Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Josh Hart and Ivica Zubac.

He, Rajon Rondo, JaVale McGee, Michael Beasley, Lance Stephenson, Moe Wagner and Svi Mykhailiuk are all new to the Lakers, and James knows better than to presume a flawless start from a group with little shared experience.

“There’s gonna be months where we’re really good; there’s gonna be months where we’re not so good,” he said. “That’s just gonna come from familiarity.”

Despite these anticipated trials, the four-time MVP and seventh-leading scorer of all-time is confident that coming to the Lakers was the right move.

James considered the pros and cons of signing with Cleveland, Philadelphia and Houston, but decided that L.A. was the best destination for him and those closest to him.

“After talking with my family more than anybody,” he said, “I feel like this is the next step in my journey.”

And he aims for that journey to include winning the Lakers’ 17th NBA title — a goal he says should be expected from a team on the same pantheon of global powerhouses like the New York Yankees and Manchester United.

“There’s no reason that you become a Laker (or) you become a Yankee or you become part of Man U … and you don’t think about winning championships or winning at the highest level,” James said. “That’s what the history is all about.”

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