JAMES COMMENDS KEVIN LOVEWednesday was World Mental Health Day, an increasingly important day in the NBA as players have come forward in the past year to be open about their mental health issues.One of the most notable NBA voices on the topic has been Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love, who released a Player’s Tribune piece earlier this year about his struggles with anxiety – including a panic attack he had during the middle of a game. As Love’s former teammate, James talked about his respect for Love’s openness on the topic even though he acknowledged he hasn’t dealt with such issues in his own life.“Kevin Love was one of my favorite guys, one of my brothers,” James said. “And when he acknowledged that I just told him how strong he was, not only for himself but for other people that are going through the same issues, not only just athletes but a lot of kids that look up to him and may be going through it don’t know how to express things, so I think it’s a pretty cool thing.” AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with Packers“For me, growing up with the purple and gold, there’s an extra sentiment there,” he said. “Doesn’t mean I cheer for them, but that was my team growing up. So they’ve always had a lot of star power. When I was watching, it was Magic, Kareem and Worthy, and obviously, there have been many others.” Even though James has now come more directly in their path by entering the Western Conference, the reaction by the Warriors has been receptive. Klay Thompson recently told Bay Area media that it was “pretty cool” to see James join the Lakers, the same franchise his father played for and he grew up around. Trail Blazers beat Grizzlies in play-in, earn first-round series with the Lakers Winter literally wrote the book on the triangle offense and worked on it throughout a college career that included coaching stops at Marquette, Kansas State, Washington, Northwestern and Long Beach State (where he coached from 1978-1985). When he joined the Chicago Bulls under Phil Jackson in 1985, he had a key role in sculpting the dynastic run in the 1990s that helped make Michael Jordan a legend.That was one of the reasons O’Neal became interested in playing for Jackson.“When I played against Mike (Jordan) when he was in the Finals, I know it was hard to stop, and I know it worked,” he said. “So once I believed in it, that’s when we started winning.”O’Neal said he and Winter often clashed in practice, but credited him and longtime Lakers assistant Bill Bertka as the two men who pushed him to win three straight Finals MVP trophies.The Lakers released a statement from owner Jeanie Buss calling Winter a “wonderful man” and crediting him with contributions to championships in 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2009.O’Neal thinks Winter’s lasting legacy will be in his concepts, which continue to be played today.“It’s the perfect offense. It can definitely be used today,” he said. “I’ve seen Golden State use it every now and then, forms of it anyway. But one of the greatest offensive weapons ever created.” Lakers practice early hoping to answer all questions Lakers, Clippers schedules set for first round of NBA playoffs Trail Blazers, Grizzlies advance to NBA play-in game; Suns, Spurs see playoff dreams dashed How athletes protesting the national anthem has evolved over 17 years Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Kevin Durant, who has helped power the Warriors to titles in the last two Finals against James, said it didn’t make a huge difference for him, but he could see how it would be exciting for Lakers fans.“I just look at the player more than anything,” he said. “No matter what jersey he’s got on, same player, same feel for the game. So it’s pretty cool for Laker fans and West Coast fans to see LeBron out here on the West side. Deep culture of basketball, especially in L.A., up and down the coast here. So pretty fun to see that.”Sign up for Home Turf and get exclusive stories every SoCal sports fan must read, sent daily. Subscribe here.James is expecting to play in the first half of the preseason game, in which the Warriors will take the court without Draymond Green or Shaun Livingston. When asked if this had any similar feel to his previous matchups with the Warriors, James turned on the sarcasm.“Nah, it’s exactly the same,” he said. “Preseason game vs. Finals game, it’s exactly the same. It’s exactly the same.”SHAQ, LAKERS GRIEVE TEX WINTERHe was the coach Shaquille O’Neal called maybe his “hardest critic,” but also one of the ones most integral to his success.The basketball world, including O’Neal, grieved on Wednesday night for Tex Winter, one of the architects of the famed “triangle offense” which helped propel two NBA dynasties, including the early-2000s Lakers. He died in Manhattan, Kansas, at the age of 96.Winter’s work on the triangle was foundational in the pro careers of several of the people at Wednesday’s preseason game between the Lakers and Warriors, including Warriors coach Steve Kerr and Lakers coach Luke Walton. Sitting courtside, O’Neal said Winter was among the coaches who got him to buy into the offense that fueled three of his four career titles.“He was a master of the triangle,” he said. “I liked to go out of the triangle every now and then, but, he would just convey the message that it works and we’d sit and watch film and he had to say, ‘Sometimes you have to be not Shaq the dominant guy, you got to be like a decoy, get others involved.’ I think when I did that, especially in the playoffs, everybody was able to be comfortable and step up.”Related Articles LAS VEGAS — Even though Steve Kerr has grown accustomed to seeing LeBron James as a Cleveland Cavalier in four straight NBA Finals, the Golden State coach doesn’t find it strange to now see him suiting up for the Lakers.In fact, he said, he finds it “exciting.”“I think it’s great for the league to see LeBron in a Laker uniform,” said Kerr, hours before his Warriors took on James and the Lakers at T-Mobile Arena in the preseason.Kerr, who spent part of his childhood in Los Angeles, said it meant something to him to see James come to the franchise he once rooted for before his playing and coaching days. In the context of the league, he said it’s been important for the Lakers to have great players, but it’s also a little more personal.