LeBron: 'Long way' before Lakers can challenge GS

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail SHINE, September 26, 2018
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LeBron James of the L.A. Lakers during Media Day on Monday September 24, 2018 at the L.A. Lakers training facility at the UCLA Health Training Center in El Segundo, California.

Lebron James warned Los Angeles Lakers fans not to expect an immediate challenge to the dominance of the Golden State Warriors as the NBA superstar addressed the media for the first time on Monday.

The 33-year-old four-time National Basketball Association MVP joined the Lakers in July on a four-year, US$154-million deal which was sealed just weeks after his Cleveland Cavaliers were beaten by the Warriors for the third time in four years.

James arrives in Los Angeles with the Lakers desperately trying to regain their former glory after several years of steady decline which has seen them fail to reach the playoffs for five straight seasons.

The capture of James prompted bookmakers to slash the odds on the Lakers winning another NBA title, with Las Vegas betting market Westgate installing them as 7/2 favorites behind the Warriors.

James, however, sought to put a lid on the expectations on Monday, warning that any challenge to their Western Conference rivals Warriors was a long way off. "We've got a long way to go to get to Golden State," he said at the Lakers' media day.

"They can pick up right where they left off, starting with training camp. We're picking up from scratch. So we have a long way to go.

"We can't worry about what Golden State is doing. Golden State is Golden State and they're the champions. They've been together for a few years now.

"We can only focus on what we can do to get better every day as a Lakers franchise and hopefully some day we can put ourselves in position where we can compete for a championship as Golden State has done for the past few years."

James also rejected a suggestion that the Lakers would need to win a championship to be deemed successful. "I don't believe that. There's only one champion, but that doesn't mean you're not successful. There's going to be wins and losses and things of that nature."

However, James admitted he was excited at the prospect of donning the Lakers' yellow jersey and following in the footsteps of iconic figures such as Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal. "I think we all know this franchise has been a historical franchise in this league for years. You talk about the championships, the players that have come through this franchise, that have worn this uniform, that's an excitement in its own right. It's always humbling for me to be a part of something special," he said.

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