Former Lakers forward says playing with LeBron James is like driving Tesla or being on diet with chef

Mike Battaglino
3 Min Read
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Playing with LeBron James has been compared to many things during the superstar’s lengthy career, but former Los Angeles Lakers forward Stanley Johnson has posted some unique views about the experience.

Johnson and James were Lakers teammates during the 2021-22 season. The 27-year-old played last season for the San Antonio Spurs and is currently not in the NBA.

His comparison of playing with James to driving a Tesla resonates because of the self-driving capabilities of the well-known electric cars – just sit back and it’ll get people where they want to go. Equating the experience to having a chef help out when watching a diet also rings true, as James has proven entirely capable of mixing ingredients and improving the performances of his teammates.

James, at 38 years old and in his 21st NBA season, is showing no signs of slowing down and remains one of the best players in the league even at this advanced stage of his career. The superstar is averaging 24.6 points, 8.6 rebounds, 6.1 assists and 1.5 steals per game in 11 appearances this season.

Despite the Lakers’ stated plan to more carefully manage James’ workload this season, he is averaging almost 34 minutes per game so far. Multiple injuries to other Lakers have forced him into a bigger role than was wanted as the team has struggled to find solid footing during an up-and-down 6-6 start to the 2023-24 NBA season.

It takes that .500 record — which includes a three-game winning streak and three-game losing skid — into a meeting at the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday.

Among their injured players, the Lakers are likely to remain without Gabe Vincent, who will be re-evaluated in two weeks after he reportedly had platelet-rich plasma (PRP) treatment on his injured knee. Despite joining the Lakers this past offseason as a free agent, the 27-year-old could be on the move again as the team reportedly may be looking to acquire Zach LaVine from the Chicago Bulls.

James famously in the past has provided significant input on which players he wants to play with — and which ones he doesn’t — just like a chef who wants specific elements while concocting a meal.

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Mike is a veteran journalist who has covered the NBA for almost three decades. He remembers the birth of "Showtime" and has always admired the star power the Lakers have brought to the game.