A lot of Lakers fans are not quite sure how the lore of the Lakers meshes with LeBron James’ attempt, albeit verbal, to redefine what success means in terms of professional basketball.
The Los Angeles Lakers are a team steep in tradition, built on a foundation of winning – championships – and for many Laker fans, as well as the teams’ proprietors, anything less usually is not acceptable. As a matter of fact, in the analogs and chronicles of Laker legends, it has seemingly always been about winning. When Kareem Abdul-Jabbar became a Laker coming over from the Milwaukee Bucks in the mid to late 70’s, the expectation was to win; Shaquille in the late 90’s, also the expectation was to win; during the post-Shaq Kobe Bryant era that saw phenoms such as Pau Gasol, and Lamar Odom join the “Lake-Show” the expectation was to win. It would seem that the motive for the Lakers has always been to win.
However, that all could change as arguably the most unstoppable force in the NBA, Lebron James, has offered to question the authority of winning as the hallmark for success. Well, before too much judgment is passed, fans, specifically Laker-fans, and basketball enthusiasts, let’s hear the King out.
During media day, LeBron James told reporters flat out that, “I don’t believe the only success in marking season is winning a championship. There’s only one champion. But that doesn’t mean you’re not successful.”
It would seem that King James’s, pondering on success has become more existential, declaring a different perspective of winning a championship as not being the only way to have a successful season. This comes on the heels of a huge expectancy that literally revolves around James taking his talents to Los Angeles this season and joining forces with a squad that is less formidable than the one he departed the Cleveland Cavs before to link within Miami.
While LeBron James’ statement may sound considerably less boastful than his promise of “not one, not two, not three… championships” in South Beach, it could also be considered the delineation of a wiser and more patient James, who sees and understands the promise of championships to come with his new Lakers' squad but is also ready and willing to build towards that and not just have it already laid out for them with his addition. If that is the case, then watching LeBron James teach and build a team, a Lakers' team at that, could truly be seen a successful venture.