A sagely king: Unique challenge faces LeBron in Los Angeles – NBA.com

He’s still a physical marvel, remaining the best and, according to the NBA.com GM survey, most difficult player in the league to deal with. In that respect, LeBron’s situation with the Lakers is more akin to Wilt Chamberlain’s than Shaq’s or Kareem’s.

Chamberlain was headed into the twilight of his career when the Lakers acquired him in a trade with Philadelphia for Jerry Chambers, Archie Clark and Darrall Imhoff in July of 1968. He was 32 and no longer the behemoth capable of averaging 50 points and 25 rebounds in a season, which he did at 25 in his third season.

What can LeBron teach the young Lakers this season?

Chamberlain was still a force, averaging 20.5 poings and 21.1 rebounds per game in his first season in purple and gold. But he was the missing piece on a roster already boasting future Hall of Famers Jerry West, Gail Goodrich and Elgin Baylor. Chamberlain was Finals MVP for the Lakers’ 1972 title team and finished his career a year later at 36.

LeBron joined a team devoid of the superstar talent that he brings to the Lakers. But he’s traveled this path before, taking a reconfigured team from the lottery to The Finals in 2014-15, his first season back in Cleveland. He’s built for the transition in ways that no other player in the league is or could be, given the trail he’s blazed in free agency during his career.

“It always feels different for me any time you change uniforms,” James told reporters after his Lakers’ debut in a preseason game in San Diego. “It felt different when I changed from a Vincent-St. Mary jersey to a Cavs jersey, from a Cavs jersey to a Heat jersey back to a Cavs jersey, and now being a Laker, so … it definitely feels different

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