LeBron James is a member of the Los Angeles Lakers. We can hear the melodic baritone of Muhammad Ali echoing – “The King is here!” as he enters the room. Such a clandestine nuance captured in one glorious sporting event— or arrival. But here we are decades later, and again it can once more be said, “The King is here,” but this time it’s a different ruler and for a different sport: LeBron James, King James himself, has come to L.A.
There’s nothing quite like Lakers lore. It’s legacy if you let Kobe Bryant tell it. Being a Laker is something stays with you for life and once you are a part of that great tradition, it overtakes you, you are no longer just a player, you’re a Laker. That means something entirely different than any other player on any other team in the NBA— whether we want to admit it or not. Honestly, it seems only right, in a movie-kind-of-way, as if the plot couldn’t get any better, that King James graced the land of Los Angeles and dawned the purple and gold. However, there’s only one problem—L.A. supposedly already had its Fresh Prince and heir apparent in Lonzo Ball.
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Insert problem here. The NBA offseason is usually filled with some kind intrigue. A league that has grown to the point where players pave their own way, create their own path, and form their own destinies – you’re usually guaranteed to get some free agency moves that garner a "deer in headlights" gaze, maybe even some trade demands that make you question possibilities of lineups and gameplay. But we're not sure if there’s ever been more potential for chaos and disaster because of an offseason move than the one with LeBron going to the Lakers simply because, supposedly, Ball was the star and chosen one to lead them back to the promised land of the NBA Finals.
The potential for calamity could undoubtedly come from Lonzo Ball’s father, LaVar Ball, who has always and unwaveringly been vocal about his oldest son’s greatness. LaVar Ball told TMZ Sports, “You don’t give my son the best player in the game and don’t think he gonna win no championships.” This statement alone consists of so many interesting plot points for this unfolding story. LaVar Ball chose his words specifically, and his genius, if you can call it that, has always been his manner of magnetizing a crowd or group to listen to what he has to say, often spitting out the sensational and teasing of something spectacular to come — always from one of his sons. So, for LaVar Ball to characterize LeBron James to be someone “given” to his son is interesting.
King James has been “given” to his son. But the words that follow are equally purposeful. LaVar then calls LeBron the best player in the world, something that he has also called Lonzo. There’s a contradiction at play, or some placation, maybe even a little bait and switch. Whatever is the case, there’s bound to be more coming. King James has arrived, and the Los Angeles Lakers is James' team. But we're not quite sure LaVar Ball understands that yet.