LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James might miss his kids dearly. Yet, he declined to have his children visit the NBA’s quarantined campus for a specific reason.
“There’s nothing for them to do,” James said following the Lakers’ 117-109 Game 2 win over the Houston Rockets on Sunday.
To the delight of most players and the frustration of some coaches, the NBA has allowed only players to invite family members to visit the campus in the past week after each respective team advanced past the first round of the playoffs. James’ wife Savannah has attended, but their 16-year-old son Bronny, 13-year-old son Bryce and 5-year-old daughter Zhuri have stayed in Los Angeles.
“There’s literally nothing for them to do here,” James said. “It’s not a kid friendly place.”
There are various accommodations on the NBA campus. Each hotel has pools and gyms. Teams have access to golf courses and fishing expeditions. But the Disney World properties have remained closed both to the general public as well as everyone on campus. Everyone here is subject to daily coronavirus testing as well as social-distancing and mask-wearing rules. Teams have a heavy itinerary with games taking place every other day as well as practices in between.
“My kids are too adventurous and they love to do so much stuff,” James said. “There’s nothing for them to do here. Go outside, come back in, go outside, come back in. They can stay in L.A. They’re great.”
James would not describe himself that way.
He has admittedly struggled with staying away from his family and that he has yet to spend this long without being around his mother, Gloria. Even before he considered the potential end to the playoffs following the Jacob Blake shooting, James admitted he has thought nearly every day about leaving the Disney campus. And James has repeatedly acknowledged the challenge of playing games without fans.
Therefore, James welcomed the extra people in the building. Players can invite only one guest to a game, but they are allowed to bring small children. In James’ case, only Savannah has attended.
“You definitely love having supporters in the building. But you’ve also seen me yelling over that side when no one was over there,” James said. “So it hasn’t changed for me. It’s definitely always great to see familiar faces, people that you know that have been there on the grind with you throughout postseason runs as well. But just having some of our family here and having some of our Laker personnel in the front office and things of that nature, it’s great for us.”