LeBron James Declares Himself “100 Percent Healthy” At Drew League

LeBron James got a hero’s welcome at the Drew League on Saturday, writes Dave McMenamin of ESPN, but Lakers fans will be more interested in what he said than what he did on the court.

“I’m 100 percent healthy,” James told ESPN in an interview during his game.

It was James’ first time playing in public since the start of April. He missed 26 games this season, including seven of the Lakers’ last eight regular season contests with a sprained left ankle, as the team dropped into 11th place in the West and failed to qualify for the play-in tournament.

James showed no lingering effects from the ankle injury as he thrilled an overflow crowd at the Drew League, a Los Angeles tradition in pro-am basketball for nearly 50 years. He had 42 points, 16 rebounds, four steals and three assists as his team rallied to win a close game. James played alongside another NBA star, DeMar DeRozan, who posted 30 points and 14 rebounds.

Kyrie Irving was also rumored as a possible Drew League participant, but he spent the day at a girls basketball skills camp run by Lakers assistant coach Phil Handy.

James’ presence caused fans to start lining up around 7:00 am Pacific Time, even though his game didn’t start until 1:45 pm, according to Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times. The standing-room-only crowd reacted to everything he did, gasping when he missed his first shot and cheering loudly when he followed that by sinking a three-pointer.

“The day was crazy. A guy everybody wanted to come watch, it was already packed early in the morning,” said former NBA player Casper Ware Jr. “I [was] trying to find a way to get people in, my close friends and all this and a lot of them couldn’t even get in. He just brought that type of atmosphere where there’s no room on the baseline to stand or anywhere. It’s just the energy he brings everywhere he goes.”

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