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Pelicans’ Lonzo Ball says LeBron James was his biggest mentor last season on the Lakers

Earlier this summer, Lonzo Ball was one of the centerpieces of the blockbuster Anthony Davis trade between the Los Angeles Lakers and New Orleans Pelicans, and in many ways that may end up being for the best. He’s out of Los Angeles and the shadow of everything — good and bad — that’s happened there for him with his career both on and off the court, and has a fresh start on a young Pelicans team with a number of talented players. 

However, he’ll no longer be playing with LeBron James, who along with being the best player in the world, had become Ball’s biggest mentor last season. During a recent podcast appearance, Ball noted that “The King” had become a guiding figure for him both on and off the court. 

“The person who’s mentored me the most in the last year is probably LeBron. Just being with him pretty much the whole year: same team, same bus, same hotel. I was just always with him and just picking up what I can from the greatest to ever play.”

Ball’s comments confirm previous reporting from ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, who stated earlier this year that after the fiasco with Big Baller Brand, LeBron had reached out to the young point guard. 

“From what I’ve heard, ever since this happened with Lonzo and firing of Alan Foster and the destruction or whatever is going to be left of Big Baller Brand, I have heard that LeBron has really reached out to Lonzo and they’ve gotten much closer throughout this. He’s really tried to help him through this.”

First off, looking after Lonzo during a trying time for him shows great leadership from LeBron. Along with the BBB situation, Lonzo struggled on the floor at times, and suffered a nasty ankle injury in January that kept him out the rest of the season. That’s a lot for a youngster to deal with, especially a player like Lonzo who had such high expectations. 

There’s no doubt that having LeBron by his side helped Lonzo tremendously last season, even if it was a disappointing one for him. It’s impossible to truly quantify how that experience will help him as he continues his career with the Pelicans, but there’s no doubt he’ll be better off for learning from LeBron. 

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