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LeBron James: Luka is one of my favorite players in the NBA today

69th NBA All-Star Game Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

On the show Road Trippin’ with LeBron James, the Laker superstar had some of the most effusive Luka Doncic praise to date, saying “Luka is one of my favorite players in the NBA”

In the nearly two minute segment, LeBron notes how similar Luka’s play style is to his own, saying “‘if you challenge me to score, I’m going to score, and at the same time I’m going to keep my guys involved. I play for the team and I play with a sense of joy.”

Then he drops a rather large bombshell: “I wanted to begin ‘Team LeBron’ and have Luka as my first signing with Nike... I don’t even know if Luka knows this, but he will know it now, I wanted Luka to be the first signing of Team LeBron when he was going through his situation… That’s how much I believed in him.”

LeBron references his appreciation for how Luka kept people guessing during his shoe free agency, wearing both Jordan’s and other brands, and implies that sort of moxie really caught his eye. If true, and there’s zero reason to doubt Lebron James on this, Nike very much dropped the ball.

It’s been interesting to see which companies and people are caught off guard on the rise of Luka Doncic. Lebron James obviously had a first row seat to his gall last season

While part of me very much sees this as long term tampering by a current Los Angeles Laker, it’s also incredible to see this level of praise from one of the top players in the history of the NBA. Imagine Michael Jordan noting in 2001 during his run with the Wizards that one of his favorite players was Dirk Nowitzki (he did note in retirement that Dirk was someone who would’ve done well in his era)?

Luka Doncic ranked second in the league in jersey sales last season. He’s a rising member of Team Jordan as well. All this as a result of his stellar play in his sophomore season, resulting in an All-NBA selection to go with his starting role on the All-Star team in 2020. Now the league has Luka and LeBron facing off in primetime on Christmas.

The hype is real with Luka Doncic. LeBron James and so many other great players recognize it. It’s time for everyone else to catch up too.