The opportunity for LeBron and the Lakers
LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers talks to the media after winning Game Five of the Western Conference Finals of the NBA Playoffs on September 26, 2020 at The AdventHealth Arena at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida. In the background are (from left) head coach Frank Vogel, Dwight Howard, Alex Caruso and Rajon Rondo.
Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images/AFP

The opportunity for LeBron and the Lakers

Rick Olivares (Agence France-Presse) - September 28, 2020 - 2:14pm

MANILA, Philippines – The Los Angeles Lakers are back in the NBA Finals. And is there anyone who doesn’t think they will not annex their 17th Larry O’Brien trophy?

The Lakers are back in the finals after a 10-year absence. The last time they booked a spot was in 2010 when they defeated the Boston Celtics in seven games. It was Phil Jackson’s and Kobe Bryant’s last for the franchise.

For James, a title with the Lakers would mean his fourth title and with three different franchises. He won two with the Miami Heat (2012-13) and one with Cleveland (2016). He is a legend with both clubs and in the post-Kobe Bryant phase of the Lakers, will no doubt be one with LA.

He also has a chance to win one against his old ball club in Miami, which dusted off the Boston Celtics in a six-game Eastern Conference Finals series.

This will add to his stock when people talk about the greatest of all time. 

For someone like Dwight Howard, who like James is approaching the end of his long career, a trophy would be a nice way to go out.

Unlike his first time — a one-and-done campaign —  in 2012-13, which saw him post lows in his statistics and bicker with Bryant, Howard is not used to not being the man after having played with James Harden in Houston.

In Howard’s second go-around with LA, the stars are obviously James and forward Anthony Davis. And a title would be nice after instead of being a franchise player, he has become a journeyman logging minutes with six teams —  Orlando, the Lakers, Houston, Atlanta, Charlotte and Washington. 

Davis will slide back to the five-spot when Howard leaves, and LA will still have its franchise center. 

Has there been any other team that has counted among its ranks as some of the top centers to have played the game?

You can go back to George Mikan, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Shaquille O’Neal. Howard would have been the heir to O’Neal but he stayed for one season before returning this 2019-20.

If the Lakers bag their 17th NBA crown, Rajon Rondo will be the second player to have won both with the Lakers and the Celtics. 

The first is the late Clyde Lovelette, who won with the Minneapolis Lakers in 1954 and two with the Celtics from 1963-64.

Rondo won with Boston in 2008. But he could be the first to achieve that feat with the Lakers in their current home in Los Angeles and with Boston.

Of course, we are getting ahead of ourselves as the finals have yet to be played. The Lakers know though this is their best opportunity to win it all and with it the other trappings of success.

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