It didn't take long before LaMelo Ball proved that he was bound to become a star in the NBA. For some, he's already demonstrated that he's better than his older brother Lonzo, and he looks like a star in the making.
One of the things that stand out the most about him is his maturity, as well as his confidence. He's been used to playing against NBA players since he was 16 and played professional basketball overseas, so he's unfazed by going at the best of the best night in and night out.
That confidence was in full display when the Charlotte Hornets visited the Los Angeles Lakers a couple of nights ago, as he finished the night with 26 points on 10/18 shooting (2/5 from deep), 5 rebounds, 7 assists, and 1 steal.
LaMelo Ball Said He Didn't Idolize LeBron James Growing Up
But perhaps the story of the day was the fact that, when asked about whether he grew up idolizing LeBron James and was excited about facing off with him for the very first time, he barely batted an eye:
“I mean, nah. I grew up a little different. Not really on basketball like that. So, not really. I go to every game with the same approach – going in and try to get a win. (...) (My role model) It was my pops. I was big on family and stuff like that. Not really with basketball," Ball said before the game.
LeBron James Says LaMelo Is Too Good For His Age
LeBron didn't take that personally and even embraced the rookie after such an impressive performance. Then, he lauded his game and his versatility, claiming that he shouldn't be that good at that age.
“I think he’s damn good to be his age. His speed, his quickness, his ability to make shots at all facets in the paint. Floaters, 3s, he has the three tiers already, and he’s only going to get better. … Him and [his brother, Lonzo Ball] are two very unique players in our league, and they showcase that every night," James said in a press conference via Zoom.
Thus far, LaMelo is averaging 16.0 points with 5.9 rebounds, 6.2 assists, and 1.6 steals per game on 45% shooting and just 28 minutes per night, and he's the clear frontrunner to win the Rookie of the Year award.