(NATSOUND)(ENGLISH) NBA STAR LEBRON JAMES, SAYING: "I'm just always humbled to play at this level..." If there was one thing the NBA could always bet on, it was having the league’s biggest superstar LeBron James on its biggest stage...the NBA playoffs.
But not this year.
For the first time in 13 seasons, the face of the NBA will not be playing in the postseason.
The last time LeBron missed the playoffs: The iPhone did not exist, Twitter had not yet been invented, and Facebook was still known as ‘the Facebook.’ LeBron’s move out west to join the storied LA Lakers this season has proven more difficult than many imagined.
Reuters sports reporter Rory Carroll is in Los Angeles: (SOUNDBITE)(ENGLISH) REUTERS SPORTS REPORTER RORY CARROLL, SAYING: "Not much went right for the Lakers in their first season with LeBron James on the team.
He pulled his groin on Christmas Day in a game against the Warriors.
That side-lined him for 17 games.
After that the front office tried to trade for Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans.
That trade failed to materialize and left some players on the Lakers feeling hurt.
On top of that, on Tuesday President of Basketball Operations and Lakers legend Magic Johnson abruptly resigned his post saying he just wasn't enjoying himself." (SOUNDBITE)(ENGLISH) NBA HALL OF FAMER MAGIC JOHNSON, SAYING: "I had more fun on the other side then on this side." The absence of King James forces the league to look elsewhere for superstars to compete against the two-time defending champs the Golden State Warriors.
A team primed and ready for another title run out west.
Out East...the Boston Celtics led by perennial all-star Kyrie Irving and the Milwaukee Bucks with their Greek phenom Gianni Antetokunmpo have a shot to grab some headlines this postseason.
(SOUNDBITE)(ENGLISH) NBA STAR GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO, SAYING: "I cannot wait until the playoffs." With LeBron’s absence, viewership is another concern for the NBA throughout these playoffs: (SOUNDBITE)(ENGLISH) REUTERS SPORTS REPORTER RORY CARROLL, SAYING: "The NBA can only hope that their ratings don't take too significant a hit this postseason, the first one without James since 2005.
The most recognizable star was in last year's Finals of course, and lost in five games to the Golden State Warriors.
That series averaged 17.6 million viewers, and the NBA can only hope that some of those people will tune in to see some faces that they may not be as familiar with." With James not competing...it’s anyone’s guess who will take a seat in the King’s throne.
(NATSOUND)(ENGLISH) NBA STAR LEBRON JAMES, SAYING: "I mean history is history.
I've got to live in the moment."