LeBron James made his regular season debut for the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday, but basketball’s gravitational force couldn’t propel his new team to a win. The revamped Lakers lost to the Portland Trail Blazers 128-119, and while the result won’t tell us exactly how the season will go, it did help answer some questions that have been lingering since James signed a four-year, $154 million contract over the summer.
—Will LeBron lose his ability and talent now that he’s far away from his power source, the Cuyahoga River?
—Can Laker fans ever forgive LeBron for wearing Von Wafer’s legendary no. 23 jersey?
—Is Kobe Bryant going to sneak onto the court, steal the ball from LeBron, and take 37 shots?
In short: no; yes; probably during the first game at Staples Center.
To his credit, LeBron did not ease into things. He played downhill for much of the first half, and his first official basket in purple and gold was a thunderous dunk.
Oh, and so was his second!
Those two plays are all the more incredible when you realize that, before Thursday, no Lakers player has dunked since 2010. (That’s not a real statistic. Or is it? Don’t check; it’s better you just trust me on this one.)
The Lakers have now lost 16 times in a row to the Portland Trail Blazers (but only once in a row with LeBron).
LeBron finished the evening with a tidy 26 points, 12 rebounds, and 6 assists. He and his supporting cast of young upstarts and old weirdos may not win a championship this year, but at the very least they’ll provide some fun, late-night entertainment.