Lonzo Ball's NBA dreams came true.
More than a year after signing with the Los Angeles Lakers, the 21-year-old point guard is now playing alongside his childhood idol LeBron James. Ball spoke about his admiration for LeBron during a recent interview with the New York Times, claiming he has followed the 14-time All-Star for the last 15 years.
"I’ve looked up to him my whole life," admitted Ball, who was only 6-years-old when James began his professional basketball career.
And the respect seems to be mutual. Following the Lakers' 128-100 victory over the Charlotte Hornets earlier this month, James praised Ball's performance, and compared the former UCLA star's playing style to his own.
"We’re one and the same when it comes to our playmaking ability," James told reporters. "We’re always looking for our teammates and that’s the greatest satisfaction we can have when we see our teammates score the ball [...] We just try to be aggressive, attack the rim, make shots from the outside when guys disrespect us and we showed all of that tonight."
During a recent interview with The Atlantic, Lonzo highlighted another benefit that comes with sharing the court with a player like James: Yes, he might receive more of the glory, but he also receives more of the blame.
"I would say it takes pressure off of me and the rest of the young guys," Ball said. "Obviously you have LeBron, the best player in the world, all the attention is on him. A lot of the wins and losses are targeted towards him. "I know he’s dealt with that his whole career so he’s fine with it. But myself, it’s taken the spotlight off a little bit, just making things a little easier for me."
Lonzo and LeBron will take on Golden State tonight in the Lakers' (unofficial) annual Christmas game.