San Diego

LeBron James Makes Debut as Lakers in San Diego

Playing in the same arena where Magic Johnson made his regular-season debut for Los Angeles 39 years ago, James captivated the crowd from the start of the Lakers' exhibition opener

Lebron James played his first NBA game action as a Los Angeles Laker on Sunday in San Diego. 

The Lakers lost 124-107 to the Denver Nuggets in an NBA preseason game before a sellout crowd of 13,500 at Valley View Casino Center.

“It was great to get back on the floor and start a new journey for myself," James said. "Hearing the Lakers fans we have here in San Diego, it was a great feeling to go out and hear the roar from the fans here, so very much appreciated.”

James started and played 15 minutes, scoring 9 points, getting three rebounds and handing out four assists. While there were some glimpses of just how good, the Lakers can be with James, there’s plenty more to iron out as the preseason progresses.

When asked about improvements James said, "Everything. Got to get better at everything."

James, who came straight to the NBA from St. Vincent-St. Mary High School in Ohio, signed a four-year $153 million free agent contract with the Lakers this offseason after previous stops in Cleveland and Miami.

“It always feels different anytime you change uniforms," he said. "Felt different when I changed from wearing a St. Mary’s jersey to a Cavs jersey, from Cavs to a Heat jersey back to the Cavs and now being a Laker, so it definitely feels different. It will take a little time to get used to.”

Lakers coach Luke Walton grew up in San Diego and said Sunday night was another memorable San Diego moment.

"When you're coaching the Lakers and you look out and see LeBron wearing your team's colors, it's a pretty good feeling,” he said.

The Lakers next preseason game is Tuesday in Los Angeles, also against the Nuggets.

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