LeBron James Put On A Show In His First Drew League Game In More Than A Decade

It’s been a while since we’ve seen LeBron James play basketball. James and the Los Angeles Lakers missed the play-in tournament last season, and between that and the fact he sat the team’s final few games due to an injury, James has not taken the floor since April 1.

That changed on Saturday afternoon in Los Angeles. It was reported that James would suit up in Drew League, the annual pro-am summer basketball showcase based out of a high school in southern California, marking the first time since the 2011 NBA lockout that James would make an appearance in the league.

James played for MMV Cheaters with another NBA All-Star, DeMar DeRozan, who is a staple in the league. It led to quite the highly-anticipated event, with fans packing into King/Drew Magnet High School to watch the action.

From the jump, James imposed himself on the game, whether it was with one of his trademark fadeaway jumpers from the midpost or by making things happen in transition.

DeRozan, unsurprisingly, looked at home at the Drew…

…while James was relentless, making clear that he was bringing his very best on a Saturday afternoon in the summer.

At one point, USC guard Boogie Ellis got ahead of James in transition and decided to lob it off the backboard, which James caught and dunked so hard that he nearly pulled the backboard down.

James even came close to getting an incredible poster out of his cameo, although the big man who had a chance to contest his shot made a business decision at the last moment.

At the half, Cheaters held a 62-55 lead over Black Pearl Elite, with James’ 26 points leading all scorers. But the third quarter saw things flip — BPE got scorching hot while Cheaters could not hit a shot for a long stretch of the game, putting James, DeRozan, and co. in a position where they entered the fourth quarter trailing, 89-83.

James was on the end of a lowlight during the frame, as he got lost in the sauce on defense and gave up an open fadeaway jumper in the paint.

Cheaters came out swinging to start the fourth, with James and DeRozan leading the charge to get back into the game.

While BPE battled, Cheaters took a 99-97 lead into the game’s final two minutes after James hit a pair of shots from the free throw line. And with 1:22 left, James looked like he put the exclamation point on the win — DeRozan attracted the defense’s attention and dumped it to James as he darted down the lane for a two-handed slam.

BPE did not stop playing, and while it took some time to respond, the team got a three, forced a turnover on the ensuing inbounds, and converted a layup to make it a 1-point game with 5.5 seconds left. James got the ball after a timeout, stepped up to the free throw line, and went 1-for-2, opening the door for the upset. That did not come to fruition, though, as Ethan Alvaro of BPE’s final attempt of the game was an off-balanced three that hit the front of the rim.

For his efforts, James got named player of the game.

James and DeRozan were not the only NBA players who were on the bill on Saturday, as it was reported that Kyrie Irving was going to play in an earlier game. That, however, did not come to fruition, although it was subsequently reported that Irving was slated to play later in the day.