LeBron James had an electrifying welcome in his first return in the Drew league since 2011 during the NBA lockout. The Laker forward was greeted by cheers and claps when he entered the court.
Despite the capacity of the King-Drew Magnet High School which usually holds 1,300 people, about 2,500 fans attended James’ contest against the Black Pearl Elite, according to Dino Smiley, the commissioner of the league. Smiley added that the fans arrived as early as six in the morning even though James’ scheduled matchup is at 1:45 in the afternoon.
Before playing, “The King” was welcomed by hugs and high-fives by the fans that stormed him as he entered the floor. One of those fans was LaVar Ball, the father of LaMelo and Lonzo. Ball is also a coach of another team in the same league which is the Team BBB.
Draymond Green, Talen Horton-Tucker, Kendrick Nunn, and former NBA player Baron Davis also attended James’ return.
The fans did not only see James, but Chicago Bulls forward DeMar DeRozan as well. DeRozan also played with James in their battle against Black Pearl.
James finished with 42 big points, 16 rebounds, and four steals in a 104-102 victory over the opposing team. DeRozan tallied 30 points and 14 boards, ending the match with a double-double output. The four-time NBA champion also showed off his powerful dunks that always energizes the audience.
Kyrie Irving was confirmed to play on Saturday at 11:45 in the morning. However, Irving attended Phil Handy’s camp, leaving Drew League officials confused about Irving’s decision.
“They were pretty sure he was coming,” Smiley said of the representatives of Irving. “But you know how Kyrie is. I guess he changed his mind in the middle of it.”
After the win over Black Pearl, James was approached by a handful of Lakers fans to sign autographs and take pictures. But security immediately escorted James to his car.