Moritz Wagner Explains How LeBron James’ First Season at Lakers Felt Like ‘Finals Everyday’

Published 09/13/2021, 12:28 AM EDT
SHENZHEN, CHINA – OCTOBER 12: #23 Lebron James of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts during a preseason game as part of 2019 NBA Global Games China at Shenzhen Universiade Center on October 12, 2019 in Shenzhen, Guangdong, China. (Photo by Stringer/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)


The NBA saw one of the biggest moves happen in 2018. LeBron James just went through a tough finals as Cleveland got swept by Golden State Warriors. But later, news broke that the ‘King’ is moving to Hollywood to join the Los Angeles Lakers.

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As soon as the news came out, Los Angeles became the center stage of the NBA. Then-rookie, Moritz Wagner reflects upon how every day was crazy with LeBron’s first year in LA.

SHENZHEN, CHINA – OCTOBER 12: #23 Lebron James of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts during a preseason game as part of 2019 NBA Global Games China at Shenzhen Universiade Center on October 12, 2019 in Shenzhen, Guangdong, China. (Photo by Stringer/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
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Wagner speaks on the LeBron James experience

Recently, Wagner made his appearance on The Long Shot with Duncan Robinson and Davis Reid. While on, he spoke about coming up from Germany and his time at Michigan with his best friend, Duncan Robinson. They also spoke about his journey in the league so far.

DENVER, CO – FEBRUARY 12: LeBron James (23) of the Los Angeles Lakers licks his chops as the Lakers cruise to the finish line against the Denver Nuggets during overtime quarter of Los Angeles’ 120-116 win on Wednesday, February 12, 2020. (Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Wagner spent his rookie season with the Lakers. Coincidentally, that was LeBron’s first year with the Lakes and Wagner got the whole experience of it. He spoke about how extreme and intense that season was. He also said that the locker room would be full with media due to the arrival of the ‘King’.

He said, “It’s LeBron’s first year, so the pressure was enormous. Like it was extreme, the locker room was packed with media, Like it was the finals everyday.”

He further went on to speak about how he felt this was normal because he did not have a perspective before this. Wagner entered the league and into a team that landed the biggest free agent in basketball at the time. It is no surprise that the lockers were full and the atmosphere was nothing short of intense.

DENVER, CO – FEBRUARY 12: LeBron James (23) of the Los Angeles Lakers looks into the stands after a spectator threw a hat onto the floor as he and his squad played the Denver Nuggets during the fourth quarter of Los Angeles’ 120-116 win on Wednesday, February 12, 2020. (Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Wagner further how his rookie experience helped him understand the business side of the NBA in much detail. Looking at the move, how did James’ first season in LA play out?

The ‘King’ announces his arrival

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LeBron started his journey with the Lakers in the most electrifying way possible. In his first match against Portland, he went through a crazy sequence with Damian Lillard sharing dunks one after another. However, the season was rather disappointing.

DENVER, CO – FEBRUARY 12: LeBron James (23) of the Los Angeles Lakers celebrates the final horn against the Denver Nuggets during overtime quarter of Los Angeles’ 120-116 win on Wednesday, February 12, 2020. (Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

LeBron suffered a groin injury that kept him out for a majority of the season. The Akron Hammer missed his first-ever playoffs since 2006. However, his performance was on point as always, as he averaged 27.4 points, 8.5 rebounds and 8.3 assists that season.

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Since then, he has succeeded in bringing a championship to LA and is now looking to add another one heading into the new season. Do you think LeBron James and the Lakers can win the championship this season?

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Anuj Talwalkar

295 articles

Anuj Talwalkar is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. He is a student studying at NM College in Mumbai, aspiring to pursue sports management to follow his love for sports. Anuj started following the NBA last year, and he loves to combine his passion for writing with his understanding of basketball.

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