LA Lakers captain LeBron James has been sidelined due to a recent positive test for COVID-19, which means someone has to step up to lead the team. But Anthony Davis says he’s the right person for the job.
Speaking with Yahoo! Sports, the superstar center said he’s ready to take the “next step” in his leadership and that teammates Rajon Rondo, Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony are encouraging him to do so.
“I’m just taking that next step in leadership to my career,” he said. “I’m going to lead the team my way. I’m trying to be one of the guys to express how he feels in our locker room. Rondo, ’Melo (Anthony), Russ have all been encouraging me to use my voice because I’m normally a really quiet guy when I’m playing and the only time I really talk is when I get tipped over the edge. But they’ve been telling me to ‘Use your voice. Use your voice.’”
As far as what he’s been telling the team, AD says he's been trying to build their confidence, which is easier with a veteran team.
“I’m going to be the guy who speaks his mind whether it’s in the media or the locker room,” he added. “But it’s because I’m trying to help the team breathe confidence in these guys. Obviously, I was here when we won the title, so I’m telling them it’s a long season and just using my knowledge and my experience to help these guys out.
“The good thing about us, we’ve got a veteran group. All these guys already know what we have to do, which is a good thing,” he continued. “Now the younger group, I’m just telling them, ‘We’re OK. Just keep [pushing on].’ We’ve got a lot of guys who know what they’re supposed to do on and off the floor, especially when you’re missing a guy like that.”
James missed his first game on Tuesday (November 30) after being placed in the NBA coronavirus health and safety protocols. In his absence, Davis performed very well against the Sacramento Kings, scoring 25 points and recording seven rebounds to go along with three assists, two steals and two blocks.
The Lakers will play again on Friday (Dec. 3) in a big matchup with the cross-town rival L.A. Clippers.