EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — It has been almost three months since LeBron James signed a free-agent deal to come to Los Angeles and join the Lakers.
Three months, more than enough time for N.B.A. fans and even the news media to prepare.
But it still seemed odd, even jolting, to see him at the team’s training facility on Monday, speaking for the first time to a thick assemblage of reporters as a member of his new team, dressed in a purple-and-gold Lakers uniform affixed with No. 23.
This was media day, James’s official unveiling. It was a chance for him to have a little fun if he wanted, a chance for him to publicly expand on his reasons for leaving Cleveland a second time and for joining a team he had long been attached to in rumors. Instead, before a media scrum probing for signs of deep excitement, hoping for new insight, James played the moment straight.
He sat at a black table for 15 minutes, holding a microphone in his left hand, casually leaning back in his chair.
He paid homage to the Lakers’ history, the team’s 16 N.B.A. titles and slew of all-time greats. (One of them, Magic Johnson, listened closely from a balcony nearby.) He talked of adhering to process — in fact, he talked of process a great deal.
Question: LeBron, as someone who has willed your teams to eight straight finals in the Eastern Conference, what are your expectations now that you have arrived in the West?
“My expectation is to try to get better every single day,” he said, his voice measured. “What I know I can bring to the table is being committed to having excellence every single day, from a mind-set standpoint.”
Question: Did you come here because of the chance to mix sports with the business side of Los Angeles?
“My decision was based solely on my family and the Lakers,” he said. “I am a basketball player. I play ball, that’s what I do. That’s what I live by, and when I do it at the level I do it at, everything takes care of itself.”
Question: At this stage of your career, what brings about pressure?
“Nothing,” James answered. “Nothing,” he echoed, followed by a long pause.
There was more of this, but you get the picture.
James left the news conference and satisfied several appointed media engagements — talking to local radio for a while, recording a radio promotion, getting interviewed for ESPN.
Dozens of photographers and reporters shadowed his every scripted move. Meantime, the other Lakers sat for interviews. Veteran additions, like Rajon Rondo and Lance Stephenson. The young talent who played for Los Angeles last year: Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma and Josh Hart.
Few seemed to notice them. This was James’s show, as it will be all season. But none of them seemed bothered. In fact, they seemed to relish the chance to play along his side. Or, in the case of Coach Luke Walton, to help guide a James-led team.
Walton said his new star’s tight-lipped tone was intentional. Practice begins on Tuesday. The regular season begins next month.
“He knows what time it is,” said Walton, a former Lakers player who was teammates with Kobe Bryant. “He’s setting the tone that it is time to come to work. There is definitely that look that I’ve seen before.”
A reporter asked which player he was alluding to.
“Ronny Turiaf,” Walton cracked, referring to perhaps the Lakers’ most effervescent and fun-loving player in 2008, when they lost to the Boston Celtics in the finals.
It was the day’s one shining moment of levity.
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