LeBron James appeared unhappy and aloof his first season with the Lakers, as Los Angeles finished 37-45 and he missed the playoffs for the first time in 14 years.
The Lakers are even worse this season.
Los Angeles (31-42) has lost plenty while struggling to find an identity. LeBron has looked despondent.
But after dunking on Kevin Love and leading the Lakers over the Cavaliers in Cleveland on Monday, LeBron shared a different perspective.
LeBron, via Dave McMenamin of ESPN:
“I’m literally having the time of my life right now,” James said after the Lakers finished their four-game road trip by winning two of their final three. “The game’s such a beautiful thing.”
“Because I couldn’t care less what the narrative about our team is,” James said. “At my point in my career, I don’t get involved in that stuff. I don’t read about it, I don’t hear it too much. … None of that stuff matters to me, I’m having a blast playing the game of basketball.”
After saying this, LeBron already faced yet another setback, missing the Lakers’ loss to the 76ers last night due to left-knee soreness.
This mostly sounds like LeBron trying to convince himself. He has learned how to live with disappointment and find joy anyway. It’s a healthy attitude, even if he has to speak it into existence with statements that don’t initially sound true.
The narrative he “couldn’t care less about” certainly entered his mind when he tweeted in August:
Keep talking about my squad, our personnel ages, the way he plays, he stays injured, we’re past our time in this league, etc etc etc. Do me one favor PLEASE!!!! And I mean PLEASE!!! Keep that same narrative ENERGY when it begins! That’s all I ask. #ThankYou
LeBron didn’t have to look far to find someone not keeping that same ENERGY.
But again, that seems healthy. What would wallowing in the Lakers’ failures accomplish? Unlike 2018-19, when the Lakers finished 10th in the West, this year’s Lakers would make the play-in tournament with a ninth- or 10th-place finish. That’s the chance LeBron wants.
If he can convince himself to stay engaged.