Lonzo Ball erupts for Los Angeles Lakers in NBA Summer League, LeBron James watches

By Alex Butler  |  July 13, 2017 at 12:07 PM
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July 13 (UPI) -- Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James skipped the ESPYs to watch Lonzo Ball and the Los Angeles Lakers battle the Philadelphia 76ers Wednesday in Las Vegas.

He didn't leave disappointed.

Ball shredded the Sixers in the Summer League matchup. He netted a game-high 36 points and had a game-high 11 assists. His eight rebounds were more than any Sixers player, trailing only teammate Kyle Kuzma for the contest. He also had five steals.

He hit 12-of-22 shots from the floor, including 3-of-10 from 3-point range.

The oldest Ball brother has rebounded nicely from his poor debut showing. He shot 2-for-15 from the field in his first game, netting five points. In his next game, Ball had a triple-double with 11 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists.

Ball didn't play Monday, before his big showing Wednesday.

"He [Ball] can really pass it," James told ESPN after the game.

The Sixers' No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, Ben Simmons, did not play in the contest but watched court-side. Earlier in the day, Simmons posted a workout video, showing himself draining nine consecutive 3-pointers. He also posed with James and San Antonio Spurs guard Dejounte Murray for a few photos.

Simmons even gave a nod to Ball's performance on Twitter, despite an ongoing conflict between his teammate Joel Embiid and the rookie's father, LaVar Ball.

While many fans just watched the game to get a view of Ball, James might have had other reasons for his presence. Simmons, Murray and James are all Klutch Sports Group clients, under agent and James' confidant Rich Paul.

In one of the photos of the group, Simmons wrote the caption

"Saw him at halftime," Ball said in his postgame comments. "It's nice that he came out ... Did it inspire me? No. But I hope he saw a good game."

"King James" was also one of the many people to recognize Ball's footwear during the performance. Ball sported a purple pair of Kobe Bryant's Kobe A.D. signature shoes instead of wearing his well-publicized ZO2 kicks.

KLUTCH

A post shared by Benjamin Simmons (@bensimmons) on

"Just. Do. It," James wrote on Instagram. The four-time NBA MVP is endorsed by Nike.

Ball's ZO2 shoes retail for $495. He said he wanted to channel Bryant Wednesday.

"I already played in both of my shoes, might as well get the "Mamba Mentality" going," he told ESPN. "Put 'em on, and it worked out tonight."

The Nike Kobe A.D. shoes retail for about $150.

"Lonzo is not forced to wear any brand and can play in any shoe he wants as long as it's OK with the NBA. This is what being independent is all about," LaVar Ball told ESPN regarding his son's shoe choice.

Ball said his son is not negotiating with the sports apparel behemoth.

The Lakers (2-2) battle James' Cavaliers (3-0) at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in Las Vegas.

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