Sports | July 31, 2020 10:40 am

LeBron James Hits Game-Winner, Salutes Colin Kaepernick as NBA Returns

James was able to put in his own miss to lift the Lakers past Clippers 103-101

LeBron James Restart
LeBron James looks on against the LA Clippers. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty)
Getty Images

LeBron James won the second game of the NBA’s re-opening doubleheader for the LA Lakers by rebounding his own miss and putting in the go-ahead basket with 12.8 seconds remaining.

James, who had 16 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists to beat the Clippers and help the Lakers move 6 1/2 games ahead of their crosstown rivals in the Western Conference, then helped shut down Kawhi Leonard and Paul George on the contest’s final defensive possession.

After the buzzer sounded, James was called upon to do the post-game interview from the court. James, who knelt with his teammates and locked arms during the National Anthem to protest systemic racism, shouted out former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick during the chat.

“I hope we made Kap proud. I hope we continue to make Kap proud every single day. I hope I make him proud with how I live my life, not only on the basketball floor but off the floor,” James said after the win. “I’ve been one to always speak out about things that I feel like is unjust. If I’m educated on things, I always go about it that way. So Kap was someone who stood up when times weren’t comfortable, and people didn’t understand or refused to listen to what he was saying.”

In the other game that kicked off the season’s restart, the Utah Jazz eked out a 106-104 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans. Rudy Gobert, the player whose positive COVID-19 test shut down the NBA in March, sank two free throws with 6.9 seconds left to cap a 14-point, 12-rebound and three-block performance in the win.

In an ironic bit of symmetry, Gobert also scored the first bucket of the NBA’s restart.

The resumed NBA season continues today with six more games from the league’s bubble in Orlando.

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