LeBron: 'Pretty cool' to have Melo, CP3 in stands for Lakers-Clippers
Jesse D. Garrabrant / National Basketball Association / Getty

The NBA rediscovered a bit of normalcy Thursday night at its Walt Disney World campus.

First, the Utah Jazz eked out a win over the upstart New Orleans Pelicans in the restart opener, followed by the main event - the final regular-season matchup between the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers.

For the first time in months, nearly all the eyes were glued to the on-court action - except, that is, when those playing the game turned their own gaze to the sidelines.

The stands were completely devoid of fans, save for a number of players, future Hall of Famers Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony among them.

"I think it's a respect (thing)," LeBron James told reporters after the Lakers' win. "We're all a brotherhood, and definitely having CP and Melo - you guys know my relationship with those two guys. Looking over there and seeing some of our guys in our league - CJ (McCollum) from around my block, (Damian Lillard) and a lot of other guys - I think it's just pretty cool."

James' relationships with Paul and Anthony date back nearly two decades. He and Anthony, who's now with the Portland Trail Blazers, were both members of the 2003 draft class, going first and third overall, respectively. Paul, now with the Oklahoma City Thunder, entered the league two years later in 2005.

Though the three have never teamed up on an NBA roster, they captured gold medals together with Team USA at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. Together with retired Miami Heat legend Dwyane Wade, the group also comprised the so-called "Banana Boat Crew," a reference to a photo taken while the four players vacationed together in 2015.

For his part, James hopes to return to favor and take in some of his contemporaries' games in Orlando.

"I hope throughout the course of this time over here in this bubble I can make it to a few games too just out of the love for the game," the 35-year-old said. "I love getting an opportunity to watch the game live, and you don't have that much time throughout the course of regular NBA scheduling."

The fact that most people in attendance during the restart have been players themselves took James back to his amateur days.

"It's a pretty good dynamic," he said. "It's a big AAU feeling for grown men and I just want to try to take advantage of it."

Comments
LeBron: 'Pretty cool' to have Melo, CP3 in stands for Lakers-Clippers
  Got something to say? Leave a comment below!
Daily Newsletter
Get the latest trending sports news daily in your inbox