LeBron James sees himself a lot in Luka Doncic.
The Lakers superstar has said it several times since Doncic entered the NBA in 2018 with the Mavericks. James and Doncic will go down in the record books forever as two of the most impressive teenagers in league history. Of course, James, 35, added to those impressive first seasons with championships and MVP awards.
21-year-old Doncic still has plenty of time to reach all these heights. In the meantime, however, the pair will face Christmas Day in 2020, and James will be associated with a related basketball spirit.
“Luka is one of my favorite players in the NBA today,” James said on the Road Trippin ‘Podcast earlier in December. “For the simple fact of, the way I play the game is exactly the way I like the way he plays the game. The team first involves their guys, if you dare me to score, I I’m going to score. And at the same time I’m going to score, but I’m going to keep my guys involved … I’m playing for the team, and I’m going to play with a feeling of joy. “
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The comparison game is a dangerous trap that many fall into, but it’s easy to see how James and Doncic line up. They are both the size of small forwards but play a lot of leaders, frequently wearing the ‘point forward’ label. They both had dominant moments in the NBA before they could legally sip alcohol in the United States. They can both get a bucket whenever they want, while consistently trying to involve their less talented teammates.
James fell in love with Doncic so much during his first two NBA seasons that the future Hall of Famer wanted to bring Doncic with him to Nike when Doncic was a free agent selling shoes.
“When Luka was going through his (shoe) contract (negotiations), I wanted to start ‘Team LeBron’ and have Luka as my first signing,” James said on the Road Trippin ‘podcast. “I don’t even think Luka knows it. But he will know it now … that’s all I believe in him. I love what he represents, on and off the pitch. ”
Doncic eventually signed with Nike and the Air Jordan line. It probably won’t lose James’s admiration, which he has summed up in much simpler terms in the past. After a huge Doncic during the 2019-2020 season, James posted on his Instagram Story that Doncic is a “BAD MOFO !!!!!”
Doncic returned some of the praise, calling James his “idol” Many times. It even made Doncic “nervous” the first time he met James, although Doncic’s stellar game in his first two seasons in the NBA likely knocked out a lot of nerves.
Soon, the next generation of basketball stars may be calling Doncic their idol. It is an appropriate passage of the torch from one handyman to another. Based on everything James has said about Doncic, he is surely happy that one of the next faces in the NBA looks so much like him.
“I love his game, his ability to not only create plans for himself; but you know I love that he can give his teammates great looks,” said James, by NBA.com. “It’s what I thrive on, it’s what I’ve always believed in, and he just plays the game the right way.”
LeBron James vs Luka Doncic stats
Entering the 2020-21 season, Doncic played two years in the NBA. These were his seasons at 19 and 20, which is handy because James’s first two years in the NBA were his seasons at 19 and 20 as well. Below, we’ve compiled the combined stats of Doncic and James over their first two years in the NBA.
|Player||Years||Games||Field objective%||Free throw %||3 points%||3 pointers per match||Rebounds Per Game||Assists per game||Fly per match||Blocks per part||Points per game|