"Not for that $500k" - Billionaire LeBron James quips about taking charges from Pelicans at 38 years of age
LeBron James is willing to put his body on the line for the $500,000 in-season tournament prize. The veteran superstar made the claim after being asked if he was too old to draw charges so early in the season. However, it would appear LeBron, like most stars in the NBA, has been motivated by the significant cash prize on offer.
The superstar forward's comments came after the LA Lakers trounched the New Orleans Pelicans 133-89 in the In-Season Tournament semifinals. LeBron rolled back the years to provide a vintage display of basketball and was clearly the best player on the court.
LeBron scored 30 points, grabbed five rebounds and dished out eight assists while shooting 75.0% from the field, including 100% from 3-point range. The veteran also drew three charges, two against Zion Williamson and one against Brandon Ingram, leading a reporter to question whether he should shy away from such a physical brand of defense.
"Not for that $500k, I ain't," LeBron replied.
The Lakers have been heavily reliant on LeBron this season. Despite the star forward being 38 years old, he is still shouldering a significant amount of the team's offense. Regardless of whether the Lakers win the In-Season Tournament or not, Darvin Ham will need to find a way to rest his star player later in the season.
The LA Lakers won't hang a banner for the in-season tournament, if they win
According to Arash Markazi, the LA Lakers have no intention of hanging a banner in the Crypto.com arena, should they win the In-Season Tournament. The Lakers front office is steadfast that it only hang banners for NBA championships. Which is why you don't see any sign of the team's conference championships within its arena.
"I’m told the Lakers currently have no plans to change their stance on only hanging banners for NBA championships," Markazi wrote on X. "They don’t hang banners for Western Conference titles, Pacific Division titles and (for now) potential NBA In-Season Tournament titles, only NBA titles.
Irrespective of whether the franchise plans to hang a banner or not, it's clear the players want to win the In-Season Tournament and the Lakers fanbase is behind them. They will play the Indiana Pacers in the finals Saturday and will be hoping to lift their first trophy since the 2020 championship in the Disney World bubble.
The hope would then be that the Lakers are spurred on by their success and contend for the NBA championship later this season.