EL SEGUNDO (Calif.) -- LeBron James looked exhausted after Los Angeles Lakers' second training camp day. He sat down in an interview room looking tired, his sneakers unlaced and sweat dripping off his forehead. The Lakers star said that this was a sign of fatigue.
The team seemed to have been exhausted from the beginning of last season's camp, which opened less than two years after L.A.'s victory in the NBA bubble in Orlando. The Lakers regrouped nearly four months ago after losing to the Phoenix Suns in the first round of the playoffs. This year they have 11 new players and are given another chance to win title No. Things are different for the franchise with 18 players.
James replied, "Just the energy," when asked about what had changed. It literally took everything from me the year I came out of the bubble. Every ounce of energy you had was gone by the time we left. The season was kind of dead after the quick start we had. It's right. The problem was that the guys didn't have the chance to take a mental break.
"You could feel the energy shift more in this season's first two practices than you did last."
Russell Westbrook, former MVP, has been added to the team as the core of the group of experienced vets L.A. acquired in overhauling its roster. This enthusiasm has led to James engaging with more people, giving instructions and playcalls to his new group.
James, clearly hoarse, said that he could tell he had been shouting the past couple of days as a way to try and implement everything. "My voice is getting worse with each minute, but that's a good thing."
Frank Vogel, Lakers coach, welcomed James' presence as the star 36-year old opens his 19th season.
Vogel stated that Vogel sets a high standard for attentiveness and attention. "He listens to every word that coaches say and makes sure he understands it. He executes it at the correct level. That sets the tone for the other guys to absorb what we are trying to convey to them. That's where it all begins. It all starts there.
He'll be vocal if there's an issue. His voice may sound hoarse because of the intense practice today. These guys were really focused today. It's a sign of the talent we have to this day that these guys are so hard working in training camp.
James praised newcomers Kendrick Nunn and Kent Bazemore for their impressive start to camp. Rajon Rondo, a Lakers guard, also praised Carmelo Anthony for his strong start at camp, saying that "I don’t think Melo’s missed since he was a Laker."
And Rondo showed appreciation for James, too.
Rondo stated, "It's the essence of greatness." Rondo said that every team he has played on has reached the top. A guy like this sets the tone and everyone must follow his example.
James may appear tired after leaving the gym during training camp. This is due to how much effort he put into it.