It came in a preseason game, let’s remember that. But as LeBron James sent an arcing shot high into the Las Vegas air on Wednesday night, Los Angeles Lakers fans were left fervently hoping that it was a sign of things to come.
With time running out in the first half of the Lakers’ meeting with the Golden State Warriors at T-Mobile Arena, James produced a “moment,” the kind of thing that only the greats manage to make look easy.
Klay Thompson missed a three-pointer for the Warriors with six seconds left in the second quarter. Javale McGee snared an unopposed rebound, then found James who had hustled his way to the left wing, just across mid-court.
These games count for nothing after all. There was no time left to make a move to the basket and all thoughts, understandably, seemed to turn to the locker room. Lakers teammate Brandon Ingram stopped moving. Thompson backed off, his arms at his sides.
But James had only one thing on his mind. Despite being 40 feet from the basket he heaved up a shot, extended his arm and watched it sink inevitably through the hoop.
New colleague Kentavious Caldwell-Pope embraced him immediately. Lance Stephenson came in for a joyous hand slap and James responded with a wry smile that seemed to say: “there’s more where that came from.”
Lakerland certainly hopes so.
His shot gave the Lakers a 61-57 lead at the half. James played 18 minutes in the game, scoring 15 points and grabbing 10 rebounds in the Lakers’ 123-113 win.
Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Martin Rogers on Twitter @RogersJourno.