What nickname did LeBron James give the Lakers unit during a tough 2018-19 season?

After a remarkable career with the Cleveland Cavaliers, LeBron James made the decision in 2018 to take his talents to the Los Angeles Lakers. Already hailed as “King James” for his dominance and leadership on the court, James’ arrival in LA brought great anticipation for what he could bring to the storied franchise.

LeBron James maintained his trademark excellence, remaining the team’s driving force and leading the Lakers with his exceptional skill set. However, amidst a challenging 2018–19 season, there emerged another nickname that encapsulated the team’s level of competitiveness and resilience, which later became an iconic threshold in the modern NBA.

LeBron dubs Lakers unit “MUD” amidst subpar season

LeBron James dubbed the Los Angeles Lakers unit with the nickname “MUD” during the challenging 2018-19 season. While the Lakers had made several offseason acquisitions that didn’t involve James, it led to criticism and raised eyebrows among the NBA community. The likes of Lance Stephenson, Michael Beasley, JaVale McGee, and Rajon Rondo, known more for their off-court antics, were part of this crew, which made Stephenson take to Instagram to ask for a nickname for the group, and James had an answer ready.

James responded with “MUD,” which stood for “misunderstood, underappreciated, determined.” The nickname perfectly captured the rag-tag reputation surrounding this crew, particularly highlighting Stephenson’s infamous ear-blowing incident with James during the 2014 playoffs. However, James intended it as a playful take, aiming to uplift and motivate his bench members.

Throughout that season, the Lakers faced numerous challenges, but the “MUD” crew stood strong, showcasing their determination and resilience. While their overall performance might have been subpar, their willingness to prove themselves cannot be overlooked. But LeBron finally hushed all doubters when he won the long-awaited title with the Lakers.

LeBron James won NBA title with Lakers in 2020

LeBron James cemented his legacy as one of the greatest basketball players of all time when he led the Los Angeles Lakers to win the NBA championship in 2020. In what was an unprecedented season riddled with uncertainty due to the global pandemic, the Lakers overcame numerous challenges to emerge victorious.

LeBron, Lakers after winning the finals against the Heats in 2020
Via Arizona Daily Star

The regular season had showcased the Lakers’ dominance in the Western Conference, and they carried that momentum into the playoffs. After dispatching the Trail Blazers, Rockets, and Nuggets with relative ease, they locked horns with the resilient Miami Heat, led by Jimmy Butler. Although the Lakers faced a tougher challenge in the Finals, they rose to the occasion.

Game 6 proved to be the ultimate test, and the Lakers left no doubts about their superiority. With LeBron James delivering a triple-double performance and Anthony Davis providing stellar support, the Lakers secured a resounding 106-93 victory. Rajon Rondo’s impressive contributions off the bench were pivotal in sealing the win.

While celebrating their 17th championship, the Lakers were deprived of the customary parade due to the pandemic’s restrictions. Nonetheless, the team found solace in an intimate celebration with their families within the confines of the Orlando bubble.

LeBron James, finally capturing his first championship ring with the Lakers, was named the unanimous choice for Finals MVP. This victory marked a remarkable achievement for the legendary player and solidified the Lakers’ return to glory after a decade-long championship drought.

LeBron James, 2020 NBA finals MVP
Via Los Angeles Times

As the wait continues for the Lakers to add their 18th title and second in LeBron’s presence, the franchise and their fans eagerly anticipate the opportunity for another championship run, hoping that this season will be their time to shine once again.

Sami Haider

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Sami Haider is an NBA writer at SportsKnot. His foray into basketball scriptwriting started in 2020, when he was enthralled by the Los Angeles Lakers' NBA championship victory. His previous experience was limited to dribbling and dunking as a neighborhood kid. His insightful writings show how much he loves the sport. His writing goes beyond numbers and scores, giving readers a unique viewpoint on the players, teams, and events that define the basketball scene. Whether you're a die-hard fan or a casual observer, Sami's work is essential for anybody trying to expand their knowledge and love of the NBA.


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