Lonzo Ball's debut with the Los Angeles Lakers is just over a month away, but the anticipation to see the rookie take to the floor has been evident for months.
The rookie will don the famous purple and gold jersey for the first time in the regular season as the Lakers take on cross-city rivals the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center on 20 October.
The Lakers will be the home team on that occasion and it is sure to be a sell-out as the natives are eager to see their newest star work his magic.
The hype surrounding Ball has been incredible and the media attention around the youngster has arguably been the most since LeBron James entered the league straight from high school at the age of 18.
An encounter against the Clippers is the perfect way for the 19-year-old to begin his NBA career as he aims to become the new face of basketball in L.A.
The two teams will go into the game with many roster changes from last season. The Clippers lost All-Star point guard Chris Paul and the Lakers traded D'Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov.
Ahead of the showdown, Lonzo has already raised the ante by stating that bragging rights are truly up for grabs and believes that despite the recent success of their rivals, they'll be operating on a more level playing field now.
“Gotta see who’s going to win L.A.,” he told Spectrum SportsNet. “Over the years, the Clippers definitely stepped it up, and now it’s even.”
In truth, it's difficult to see how the two franchises can be considered equal under any circumstances. In a historical context, the Clippers don't match up with the Lakers but in recent years they have been the best team in L.A. in terms of performances on the court.
But heading into this season, Laker Nation has hopes of being competitive again. As well as drafting Ball, the organisation acquired Brook Lopez from the Brooklyn Nets and signed free agent Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
Lonzo says his ultimate goal for his rookie campaign is to lead the team back to the playoffs, but that seems unlikely to come to fruition.
The competition in the Western Conference is stiff and, even though the Lakers are expected to be better, a postseason berth will be difficult to come by.