SAN ANTONIO — The Spurs will host the LeBron James-led Lakers Tuesday night in what is shaping up as perhaps one of the few remaining games the Lakers star may visit San Antonio.
But then again, James could have plenty of future visits for years to come at the rate he maintains at top physical fitness.
For 18 seasons, James graced the NBA court and out in Colorado, Spurs guard Derrick White grew up watching him play before joining him on the pro-level.
"He's been in the league pretty much my whole life," White said following Monday's team practice. "You grew up on him. You watched him and he's still playing at a high level."
At 36, James shows no signs of slowing down and just as feared with the ball in his hands.
He's currently averaging 26.0 points per game along with 5.3 assists, and 6.3 rebounds through three games – not bad for someone considered "over the hill" for NBA standards.
But stats and accolades aside, James' NBA legacy will also include his efforts to empower players to speak out.
James is front and center when it comes to social justice issues as well as positioning players to secure their financial futures.
"Obviously, what he does off the court is amazing as well," White said. "He empowers a lot of guys to speak out on what they want to speak out as well. He's had a hell of a career."
Tonight will mark another chapter in the Spurs-James history books. It spanned three NBA Finals meetings and countless battles during the regular season whether he was in a Heat, Lakers or Cavaliers uniform.
And White knows his James-Spurs Finals history.
Growing up in Colorado, he tuned in to the classic Spurs-James Finals. From the two Spurs-Heat NBA Finals to the Spurs-Cavaliers matchup, White knows the Spurs have the edge over James.
Said White: "They were very entertaining. The Spurs got two so that's good, right?"
Praise aside, ultimately it is about getting the win over the player White watched as a kid but he sees that James is still a problem on the court.
And that is simply fun for White to share and battle James on the court.
"It's crazy he's still playing at this level," White said. "It's always fun competing against him."
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