NFL legend calls out Lakers for having more pride in winning In-Season Tournament than current series

Jonathan Sherman
3 Min Read
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers looked like dark horse contenders for the NBA championship earlier this season when they won the inaugural In-Season Tournament months ago.

Now, with their season one game away from ending in a playoff series against the defending champion Denver Nuggets, the Lakers have drawn some criticism from former NFL superstar Terrell Owens for having more pride in winning the In-Season Tournament than they did for trying to advance deeply into the playoffs.

Owens penned a post on X (formerly known as Twitter) to get this thoughts across.

It’s an interesting question to pose, but the Lakers’ struggles against the Nuggets seem to have less to do with pride and more to do with the immense talent and determination of the Nuggets.

After all, the Lakers have managed to jump out to big leads in each of the three games of the series thus far. However, they just haven’t been able to put things away. The Nuggets ability to manufacture big plays and execute in crunch time have proven too difficult to contain for the Lakers in the second half of games.

Moreover, the age and tread on the tires of the Lakers roster is certainly taking its toll. There are downsides to being led by a 39-year-old LeBron James, even if he is one of the greatest players to ever put on an NBA uniform. Despite the seemingly insurmountable challenge now facing James and the Lakers, the four-time NBA champ still had words of cool confidence following the Game 3 loss on Thursday night.

“You’re supposed to have anxiety and pressure — or feel the pressure,” James said after Denver went up 3-0 in their first-round series. “That’s what it’s about. This is what the postseason is about.”

Still, it seems very likely that the current feelings of anxiety and pressure are only going to give way to disappointment and defeat in the very near future. Pride has never been a question when it comes to James and his approach to the game.

However, the question has to be asked if he can really take on the kind of responsibility he currently has with the Lakers. He’s a living legend, but the lack of help he’s received during much of his time with the Lakers has left a lot to be desired.

If the Lakers do indeed end up losing in the first round against the Nuggets, many seem to believe that big changes will be coming for the Purple and Gold.

Whether or not James’ role with the team could be a part of those changes remains to be seen.

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Jonathan is a freelance writer, filmmaker, and passionate fan of the NBA. In the past Jonathan has covered politics, entertainment, travel, and more. He is a proud contributor of Lakers Daily.