Lonzo Ball enjoyed playing with LeBron James.
James averaged 27.4 points, 8.5 rebounds and 8.3 assists during his first season with the Lakers but the team failed to make the playoffs. Ball was asked about sharing the court with the star during a press conference Wednesday.
“It was a dream come true for me,” Ball said about James. “Watching him my whole life, it was everything I thought it would be. He’s not only a great basketball player but a great person. I looked at him like a big brother.”
“It was a dream come true for me. … Watching him my whole life, it was everything I thought it would be.
“He’s not only a great basketball player but a great person. I looked at him like a big brother.“ – @ZO2_ on @KingJames pic.twitter.com/i02qlhYGVY
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) April 10, 2019
Los Angeles began the season with a 20-14 record before James suffered a strained groin Dec. 25. He missed the next 17 games and the team never recovered. James was eventually shut down in late March.
The Lakers also dealt with injuries to key role players, including Ball, who sprained his ankle in late January and never returned to the court.
“Obviously it’s been a long process,” Ball said about the injury. “It’s finally starting to show some great progress, coming along. Hopefully just a few more weeks and then I can go out there.”
Lakers president Magic Johnson stunningly announced he was resigning from his position Tuesday before the team’s final game of 2018-19. Ball said he supported Johnson’s decision.
“It shocked me, like it did the rest of the world,” Ball said. “It’s what’s best for him. I wish him the best. He drafted me, and this is better for his life. This is what he wants to do, and I’m behind him 100 percent.”
Ball finished the season averaging 9.9 points, 5.3 rebounds and 5.4 assists in 47 appearances. He shot 40.6 percent from the field and 32.9 percent from 3-point range.
The Lakers originally selected Ball out of UCLA with the No. 2 pick in the 2017 draft.