LeBron James made an appearance in the Drew League Saturday, his first appearance there since 2011, when the NBA was in the middle of a lockout.
James teamed up with Chicago Bulls star DeMar DeRozan in Los Angeles for their pro-am basketball league appearance. Their team, the MMV Cheaters, won the game 104-102 over the Black Pearl Elite.
It was the Los Angeles Lakers superstar’s first appearance on the court in about three months after his season ended without a playoff appearance.
“I’m 100% healthy,” James declared to ESPN after the first half.
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James and DeRozan’s team was down seven points in the fourth quarter before coming back to win the game.
The 37-year-old James scored 42 points and had 16 rebounds, four steals and three assists. DeRozan, a Compton native who usually works on his game in the summer in the Drew League, added 30 points and 14 rebounds.
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“For him to be here and come to the middle of the ‘hood, where regular people are every day that look up to him … He’s a superstar, so for him to come here and grace these people with his presence, I think it’s super dope,” Ethan Alvano, who played for Black Pearl Elite, told ESPN. “I’m glad he did it, and it’s great for the community.”
After the game, James posted on Instagram: “For the City!! Fk with y’all!”
The game brought the likes of Draymond Green, Montrezl Harrell, Kendrick Nunn and Talen Horton-Tucker to the gymnasium.
Kyrie Irving, who was expected to show up and play in one of the games, didn’t make an appearance.
The Drew League is a pro-am basketball league launched in 1973 by Alvin Willis, who worked at the time at Charles R. Drew Middle School. Since 2012, the league’s games have been played at King/Drew Magnet High School of Medicine and Science in the Willowbrook neighborhood of Los Angeles.
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The league grew in popularity since the 2011 lockout. NBA stars like James, Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul, James Harden, Kevin Durant and Paul George have all appeared in Drew League games over the last decade or so.