It's been a while since the Staples Center host a Los Angeles Lakers playoff game. To be more accurate, it hasn't happened since April 28, 2013; when the San Antonio Spurs completed a first-round sweep.
The Lakers didn't make the playoffs for the next seven seasons. Kobe Bryant struggled to stay healthy and the team entered a rebuild mode with young talents that couldn't take a leap right away.
Then, LeBron James happened. He came to the Lakers and lead them not only to the playoffs but to another Championship in just his second season in the team. Sadly, though, it didn't happen in front of the fans due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
That's why Thursday's matchup vs. the Phoenix Suns is going to be so special and emotional for everybody, especially for LeBron:
"It's going to be pretty special for our fans. ... That's what I came here for to be able to play a playoff game in front of the Lakers faithful," James said, as quoted by Ryan Ward of Lakers Nation.
Lakers and Suns have gone back-and-forth thus far in the first two games of the series. Monty Williams' team was vastly superior in Game 1 but the purple-and-gold managed to steal one on the road.
LeBron James hasn't been at his best since suffering a high ankle injury earlier in the season, and it's clear that he needs a little more time to get back to his peak.
That's why it'll be so important for the team to have their fans back in the seats for the playoffs. Everybody knows how intimidating and impactful Lakers Nation can be and how loud the Staples Center can get come playoff time.
So, if you're one of those lucky fans that'll be in attendance, don't forget to bring your A-game as well.