Can LeBron Become the Greatest to Wear a Lakers Uniform?
If you told me in 2011, when LeBron was with the Heat and Kobe Bryant hit his worst injury yet, that LeBron James would put on a Lakers uniform, I would have said that the league has turned upside down. Frankly, if you told me about a month or two ago that Magic Johnson would snag LeBron, my first question would be why?
Why would the greatest player of this generation want to join an organization that hasn't been relevant in years and whose biggest asset isn't even old enough to drink (cough, Brandon Ingram)? And why would LeBron, 33, want to go from one mediocre team in Cleveland to a not-much-better Laker squad?
There's two obvious reasons: (1) to chase the narrative and (2) to solidify his name as the best player to ever pick up a basketball. I'll get into these narratives later in this story, but first I want to talk about the Los Angeles Lakers as a whole.
To the city of Los Angeles, bravo to you. In a pure basketball perspective, there was nothing appealing about the Lakers roster, including the immature nature of Kyle Kuzma and Lonzo Ball, yet they still somehow managed to land the league's most prized free agent in James. The city brought James.
To the organization, what a run its been. It means that all the years of salvaging losses with Jerry West from the Celtics have been worth it. It means that arguably seven of the top 15 players of all time have worn a Laker jersey in either their prime or extended primes (Kareem, Magic, Wilt, West, Kobe, Shaq and now LeBron).
It's a city that hasn't been relevant in the NBA since the Lakers' 2010 Finals. And up until last year's Dodgers World Series run, Los Angeles didn't have much to be excited for. Now the Dodgers are hunting for a run in the NL West, the Los Angeles Rams are the best looking organization going into this NFL season and the Lakers, with LeBron, became closer to becoming an NBA Finals contender.
Clayton Kershaw, Todd Gurley... and now LeBron; the city attracts stars.
So back to the narrative, LeBron winning a title with three franchises and playing in both the West and Eastern Conferences is huge, but the bigger picture is even more incredible. With the Lakers, LeBron can finally fulfill his goal of becoming the league’s first billion dollar player. He can branch off his brand beyond basketball: acting in movies, providing the best place for his family to live, becoming a mentor for athletes, paving the way for player options and someday being an executive in the league or even owning a team.
Then there’s the basketball side of it. It’s one that the LeBron lovers are anxious to see unfold and one that even has the Bron haters second guessing themselves. LeBron James can take his game to another level. He can contend for MVP awards, even titles, and surpass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the most points scored in a career. At 39, LeBron can play alongside his son, Bronny James Jr., who would then be eligible for the NBA draft. That’s 2024 we’re talking about.
It's not Magic's team, nor Kareem's, nor Kobe's. It's LeBron's Lakers.
And if he wins one or two titles with the Lakers, he’s in the conversation for the greatest to wear a Laker uniform. Let that sink in LA LeBron haters.
What his move to the Lakers means is likely his final step in his NBA career. This is his last shot to ink his name as the greatest to play, which is not all far-fetched. Michael Jordan won six titles, maybe LeBron feels like he needs to hit that milestone. Let’s just say, beating the Golden State Warriors, who are one of, if not the best team ever assembled, would be enough to make the solid argument.
But for now, we bask in LABron. Because come October, this season could be monumental for the King.