Lonzo Ball played his best game of the Las Vegas Summer League on Wednesday night. He went off for 36 points, 8 rebounds, 11 assists, 5 steals, and 2 blocks in the Lakers’ 103-102 win over the 76ers. And he did it while wearing a pair of Nike sneakers as LeBron James looked on from the crowd, which made the night even crazier than it already was for both Lonzo and those NBA fans watching the game from home.
When Lonzo took the court at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas for Los Angeles’ game against Philadelphia, the first thing that most people noticed was that he wasn’t wearing his signature Big Baller Brand ZO2 sneakers.
That reaction continued once the game started. As Lonzo picked apart the Sixers’ defense and did a little bit of everything on the court, NBA fans picked apart his affiliation with BBB and commented on how much better he was playing in a pair of Kobes:
There was also a LeBron sighting at the game, and of course, that got a lot of attention, too. Some NBA fans openly wondered why LeBron was at a Lakers’ Summer League game and speculated about how it might be a sign that he’s seriously considering joining the team in free agency next summer:
LeBron downplayed that talk by telling ESPN.com that he’s in Las Vegas right now to work with the players on the Cavaliers’ Summer League team. He also said that he was at the Lakers/76ers game to see former Cavaliers assistant coach Lloyd Pierce, who is now with the Sixers.
But while speaking with ESPN.com in the fourth quarter, he acknowledged that he was impressed with what he saw from Lonzo. "He can really pass it," LeBron said.
LeBron also acknowledged that he was impressed with what he saw on Lonzo’s feet by putting up this Instagram post after the game:
For his part, Lonzo said that he saw LeBron in the crowd. He claimed it didn’t make him play any harder, but he said he hoped LeBron got a glimpse of what he’s able to do on the court. "Saw him at halftime," Lonzo told ESPN.com. "It’s nice that he came out and got to see the game. Did it inspire me? No. But I hope he saw a good game."
And Lonzo also explained his choice of sneakers for the game. While everyone else freaked out over him wearing Kobes, he offered up a simple explanation for why he went with Nike sneakers over his usual BBB kicks. "Um, you know, Mamba mentality," Lonzo said, referencing Kobe. "Thought I’d switch it up."
He added: "Like I said, you can wear whatever you want when you play with Big Baller Brand…and it is just nice to get out there and do that."
The Lakers return to action on Thursday night against, oddly enough, LeBron’s Cavaliers. Don’t be surprised if LeBron shows up to see Lonzo again. And after what he was able to do against the Sixers, don’t be surprised if Lonzo wears Kobes again, either.