LeBron James comically interrupts F1 star Esteban Ocon interview at NBA game

LeBron James did his best to make Esteban Ocon feel at home when the F1 driver came to watch an NBA match – interrupting the Frenchman’s interview post-game by impersonating a racing car. The Alpine racer was in Los Angeles to witness the LA Lakers take on the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday evening in a contest that the hosts eventually edged 116-110.

Ocon was spotted courtside at the Crypto.com Arena as he took advantage of being in the area ahead of this weekend’s Las Vegas Grand Prix which takes place on Saturday evening.

The 27-year-old, whose sole Grand Prix victory to date came at the Hungarian Grand Prix in 2021, was interviewed after the NBA game had concluded but it was soon hijacked by Lakers legend James.

As Ocon spoke to reporter, James walked past him in the background before leaning in and impersonating an F1 car by shouting “Vroom vroom vroom vroom!”

After turning around to see what the commotion was, the Alpine star soon raised a smile when he realised who his distractor was.

James was forced to watch the game from the sides himself after a left calf contusion injury prevented him from playing. It is the first contest that the 38-year-old has missed all season.

The star suffered the injury during Friday’s 122-119 victory against the Phoenix Suns. With just over four minutes left in the first quarter, James headed for the basket but collided with Kevan Durant’s left shin. He received treatment on the bench but did not recover in time to play in front of Ocon.

Explaining his talisman’s absence, Lakers coach Darvin Ham said: “He has some issues with that shin that [got] kneed in the last game, so, [we’re] just being proactive.

“No reason to run him in the ground this early. But it’s an opportunity where he can get some treatment [and] not force it.”

Games are coming thick and fast for the Lakers, who currently have a 5-5 record. They will host the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday evening, quickly followed by the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday.

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Ocon will be unlikely to get the chance to catch James back on court, who is averaging a team-high 25.2 points per game in what is his 21st season in the NBA, this week as he is driving in the Las Vegas Grand Prix this weekend.

Ocon is currently 12th in the F1 Drivers’ Championship on 46 points, 16 points behind his team-mate Pierre Gasly. But with major investment on its way into the Alpine team from a host of big sporting names including Trent Alexander-Arnold, Anthony Joshua and Rory McIlory, not to mention Wrexham owners Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds, Ocon will be hoping for improved results soon.

Ocon has recorded one podium finish this season when he finished third at the Monaco Grand Prix.

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