The NBA season is beginning to enter its playoff decision-making stages heading into March and the Los Angeles Lakers, who have not been to the playoffs since 2013, are currently the 11th seed and as of now are not slated to make the playoffs with a dire 22 games left in the regular season.
Last summer, when the announcement was made that Lebron James would be joining the team, there were certainly mixed emotions. But no one expected the always passionate and focused leader’s attention to be deterred from basketball.
Well, it looks like some folks were wrong.
After sitting out for a career high 17 games due to a groin strain he suffered on Christmas Day, James returned on January 31 against the Los Angeles Clippers and played 40 minutes in the Lakers 120-123 OT win. It seemed like the King was back.
However, just 80 minutes before the team’s next game on Feb. 2, Lakers coach Luke Walton announced that James would sit out a high-profile game against the Golden State Warriors due to “load management,” as he had been sore from playing 40 minutes in his first game back.
Sounds a bit suspect, but plausible.
Things got a bit more interesting on Monday evening. Atlanta rapper 2 Chainz may have unwittingly caused a stir in Laker Nation after posting this Instagram video on his account.
It’s clearly noted in the beginning of the video that it took place on Feb. 1 at 11:43pm.
James, aside from other projects he’s taken on in the entertainment industry lately, is working with 2 Chainz as A&R for his new record “Rap Or Go To The League,” due out September 10. The two are seen in the video appearing to work on the record, drinking wine and seemingly having a good time. But considering that it was announced that James was sitting just 80 minutes prior to the game the next day, it seems a little suspect.
James has been a very vocal leader and player in his career, which is certainly one of the reasons the Lakers were interested in bringing him on board. But things haven’t been looking good lately. The team has been in a skid and could potentially miss the playoffs, which means the playoffs would be James-free for the first time in fourteen years.
It remains to be seen whether the “load management” sit-out in early February was due to soreness or off-the-court matters. But it certainly isn’t a good look for a well-respected leader and champion who is trying to captain a ship that’s close to hitting an iceberg.
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