LeBron James says he will be “ready to go” for the Los Angeles Lakers’ game against the Dallas Mavericks on Friday despite rolling his left ankle in the season opener.
“I’ll be ready to go tomorrow on Christmas Day,” James told reporters Thursday. “I’ve never missed a Christmas Day game, and I don’t plan on missing one tomorrow.”
James sat out the final eight minutes of the Lakers’ 116-109 opening night loss to the LA Clippers on Tuesday after rolling his ankle but indicated after the game that he planned to play against Dallas.
His ankle buckled when his sneaker appeared to catch on the court when he and Markieff Morris converged on Clippers center Ivica Zubac to defend the big man in the paint.
James exited with 7:51 left in the fourth quarter and the Lakers trailing 99-92. He finished with 22 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 turnovers in 28 minutes.
He elaborated on the experience of playing in Christmas Day games.
“People have opened their gifts. Everyone is excited. It’s a day of giving for a lot of us,” James said. “And then being at Staples Center, I’ve gotten the opportunity to play here on Christmas as a Laker and also as an opponent. It’s just a beautiful feeling being here.
“But it’s not the same without the Laker faithful, without the fans, without celebrity row, without the bright lights. It’s just a totally different feeling. It’s just strictly basketball, which is fine. But our game is entertainment as well. And when you’re out there, you hope to entertain some people live as well. But we have to do it. Hopefully we know we’re making a mark while they’re watching the game.”
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