LeBron James Throws Chalk Before Every Game — What's the Ritual All About?

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May 3 2023, Published 10:56 a.m. ET

LeBron James throws chalk into the crowd from behind.
Source: YouTube

Along with the rest of the Los Angeles Lakers, LeBron James is in the midst of another playoff run that may end in a championship. LeBron is widely regarded as one of the best to ever play the game, which has led some to analyze every aspect of his game.

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One particularly unusual ritual that LeBron seems to perform before almost every game involves throwing chalk in the air before the start of the game. Now, 20 years into his historic career, many are wondering where that ritual comes from. Keep reading to learn why LeBron throws chalk.

Why does LeBron throw chalk into the air before games?

Like many players in the league, LeBron has a pre-game ritual that he does before every game. These rituals help players to get into the right mindset prior to every game. Since LeBron is such a high-profile player, his rituals get quite a bit of attention. From the earliest part of his career, LeBron started to throw chalk into the air prior to every game.

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Lebron James and Adam Sandler at the Los Angeles Premiere of Netflix's "Hustle" on June 1, 2022
Source: Getty Images

The ritual is particularly cinematic, which certainly helped with its appeal. LeBron did the tradition for years, but stopped in 2014. When he joined the Lakers, he resumed the tradition and has continued to do it as the Lakers enter the playoffs.

The chalk is there for players to use to help them get a better grip on the ball, and LeBron is definitely not the only player to use it.

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LeBron's embellishment to donning his chalk definitely adds something mystical to the routine, though, and his chalk toss has even been featured in Nike ads.

Before the Lakers' first game against the Golden State Warriors, though, they were out of chalk along the sideline, which meant that LeBron couldn't do his usual ritual. Fortunately, the Lakers managed to pull out a win anyway.

LeBron is facing off with Golden State yet again.

Throughout his long career, one of LeBron's most consistent rivalries has been with the Golden State Warriors, and with Steph Curry in particular. For most of his career, LeBron has only seen Golden State in the finals, and Golden State has managed to come out victorious in three of their four matchups there. Since LeBron moved to Los Angeles, which is in the West with Golden State, the two teams haven't met in the playoffs.

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Naturally, then, the battle between LeBron and Steph has been one of the most dominant narratives of these games, even if it may not necessarily be the deciding factor in the outcome of the series. LeBron is currently in his 20th year in the league, and while he's still a great player, he isn't as dominant as he once was.

As a result, the Lakers have had to use a more team-oriented approach, and based on the results of their first game in the series, it's one that seems to be working. Only time will tell whether LeBron can make it past the Warriors this year or not.

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