That’s the opinion of ESPN NBA analyst Stephen A. Smith.
James is widely expected to exit the Cleveland Cavaliers for the second time in his career and has until June 29 to opt out of the final year of his contract in Ohio and enter the NBA’s free agency.
The four-time MVP would attract offers from across the country but Los Angeles is one of the most likely destinations should James quit the Cavs, who lost the NBA Finals 4-0 to the Golden State Warriors earlier this month.
The Lakers – 16-time NBA champions – have not won a title since 2010 while James is looking to add to his three rings as he looks to certify himself as one of the league’s best ever players alongside Chicago Bull legend Michael Jordan, who he is often compared to.
And Smith, discussing James’ options on ESPN’s First Take, explained why he would be fully supportive should the 33-year-old opt to play at Staples Center given the franchise’s rich history.
I love the pressure. I would have so much respect for him embracing that. If LeBron goes there, it will be a show again – officially.
“If LeBron goes to LA, it’s going to be special. I have to concede that,” he declared.
“He’s the best player in the world, that purple and gold – I would have so much respect for that decision.
“The Los Angeles Lakers organisation is synonymous with championships.
“There is no superstar outside of Elgin Baylor in the history of the sport and in the history of their franchise who has worn the purple and gold and has not delivered a title – nobody.
LeBron James is likely to leave Cleveland this summer
Los Angeles is one such viable team who could pick LeBron James up as a free agent
“I’m talking about back to the days of [George] Mikan, to Wilt [Chamberlain], [Jerry] West, Kareem [Abdul-Jabbar], Magic [Johnson] to Shaq [Shaquille O’Neal] and Kobe [Bryant].
“If you go to LA, the expectation is titles. You would be the lone superstar outside of Elgin Baylor that failed to bring a chip to ‘Laker Nation’.
“I love the pressure. I would have so much respect for him embracing that. If LeBron goes there, it will be a show again – officially.
“But what I love most is the expectations because there’s a lot of banners. Are you going to be the next one to deliver one?
“And I would respect him so much for accepting that challenge because that would be special.”