With his Cleveland Cavaliers jersey strategically placed over his mouth, LeBron James was spotted last December sharing a few words of wisdom with then-rookie Lonzo Ball following his team’s 121-112 win over the Los Angeles Lakers. The sight of James attempting to muffle his voice, and deceive lip readers when speaking with another player from the league is a yearly occurrence, and yet we’re always trying to figure out what was said every single time. Even though a nearby mic was there to capture a portion of LeBron’s speech, it didn’t tell the entire story.
In an interview with ESPN LA’s Mason and Ireland, James provided a summary of what he told Lonzo that night. "The gist of it was at the end of the day, no one can define who you are but yourself," he said, per For The Win. "When you’re young, you can get caught up and listening to what people say, what people thinking that you should be, what people saying what your game should be. But at the end of the day, no one can define who are you besides yourself. If you put in the work, you commit to the game, then the game will give back to you. And that’s all it’s about."
Now that LeBron is on the Lakers, he will be tasked with helping steer the progression of their young core, which includes Ball, in the right direction. It will be important that Lonzo understands his game doesn’t need to change. In a league filled with scoring point guards, Ball’s skill set as a pass-first player is still a desired trait in today’s NBA. James already knows that the UCLA product will be "great for this franchise" for years to come. He just needs to figure out how to get the most out of him.