The Los Angeles Lakers and Charlotte Hornets are set to face off on Thursday night.
Given that the Lakers are one of the most legendary franchises in sports history, led by arguably the greatest basketball player of all time in LeBron James, any time they take the floor it’s a big deal.
When you couple that with LaMelo Ball, objectively the brightest young rookie star in the league, folks understandably expect fireworks.
This week, Ball was asked whether he was excited about taking the floor against James and the Lakers for the first time.
His answer was a bit surprising.
“I mean, nah,” he said. “I grew up a little different. Not really on basketball like that. So, not really.”
For Ball, it’s all about consistently keeping the same winning mentality.
“I go to every game with the same approach — going in to try to get a win,” he said.
LaMelo’s older brother, at one point, revealed that he really looked up to James. When asked if he felt the same way, the 19-year-old said no.
He had a different role model.
“It was my pops,” Ball said. “So, I was big on family and stuff like that. Not really with the basketball.”
Ball currently leads all rookies with 15.8 points, 6.0 rebounds, 6.3 assists and 1.6 steals per game on the season.
Initially there were some questions regarding how he’d be able to transition to the NBA level, prompting the Golden State Warriors to lie to him in the draft process. Despite those initial concerns, Ball has thrived – earning the respect of legends like Warriors star Stephen Curry and Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doc Rivers in the process.
Even the usually prickly Hornets owner Michael Jordan has seemingly been won over by Ball’s promise.
Kevin Durant doesn’t miss. https://t.co/gKmHI7yGne
— Game 7 (@game7__) March 14, 2021
Of course, it hasn’t all been good news for the young star.
Despite all that, Ball seems to have a good head on his shoulder and apparently isn’t letting the pressures of stardom get to him.