Stories & Insights On Three-Year Anniversary Of LeBron James Signing With Lakers
LeBron James, Miles Simon, Rob Pelinka, Lakers
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

July 1st, 2021 marks the three-year anniversary of a marriage between LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers that was destined to happen and has already been consummated with a championship. In this partnership, the role of the marriage officiant was played by none other than Lakers legend Magic Johnson.

The story of James signing in free agency with the Lakers is one of legend that media speculated over constantly until Magic himself revealed what really happened on Jimmy Kimmel one night. Johnson had previously stated that he would step down as the Lakers president of basketball operations if he couldn’t sign a big star during free agency in 2018 or 2019.

The Lakers were in a tough spot as they continually missed out on big free agents after losing Dwight Howard in 2013, which led pundits to speculate that the organization no longer had their previous star appeal. However, Jeanie Buss made a brilliant but tough move in bringing Johnson aboard to replace her brother Jim. It worked that fateful night three years ago when Klutch Sports announced the move that shocked the world.

On Kimmel’s show, Magic revealed that Rob Pelinka called James’ agent Rich Paul to set up the meeting. LeBron said he would love to meet with the Lakers, but wanted to meet with Magic specifically.

Johnson was thrilled at this prospect as he knew how much he and James had in common as two of the best players ever. Magic revealed that he was greeted at the gate by LeBron and they immediately clicked.

Magic was immediately blown away with LeBron’s basketball intelligence, which makes sense considering the plethora of comparisons and the fact that they both sit as two of the top ten leaders in assists of all time. Most lists even rank Johnson and James within the top five players of all time, so Magic illuminated on how they were able to relate to each other on the pressures and expectations they faced growing up.

The conversation rolled on as James broke down every player on the 2018-2019 Lakers to show Johnson he’d done his homework and knew what he wanted. He also shared his expectations for the franchise, appreciation of their history of greatness and how he likes to play.

Magic shared a lot on Kimmel’s show that night, but there’s a lot he didn’t share as to how it was clear for a long time that LeBron would eventually become a Laker. James once called Miami the college years he missed out on and it seems as though Los Angeles is his master’s degree having won his fourth championship and the 17th for the Lakers with superstar Anthony Davis alongside him.

Signs Lebron Was Always Going To Be A Laker

Family

If there’s one thing to know about LeBron, it’s that he has always made it clear how important family is to him. When he first bought a house in Los Angeles in 2017, it was clear he and his family would be spending more time there in the latter stage of his career.

While many stars spend time in L.A. during the summer, the $23 million that James spent made it seem as though this was a more significant purchase, which it was. Not long after the purchase, former Laker Gary Payton revealed that Lebron would be sending his son Bronny James to Sierra Canyon High School.

LeBron’s Foray Into Hollywood

Ever since James knocked his role in Trainwreck out of the park, it was clear he had a future in Hollywood. However, once the Hollywood Reporter announced that Lebron’s production company SpringHill Entertainment would be partnering with Warner Brothers in 2015 it seemed as though he was really looking to make his mark in Los Angeles.

Not long after, it was announced LeBron would be starring in “Space Jam: A New Legacy” and the writing was on the wall. He has now trademarked his company as “SpringHill Company” and has raised over $100 million, continuing to expand further into the depths of Hollywood to develop his media empire.

However, it seems like this may have been his plan from the start.

LeBron The Basketball Historian

As it became more clear that LeBron would once again leave Cleveland, one of the clues as to where he would go was that he always described himself as someone who knew the game. In an interview with GQ, LeBron once said, “I’ve been watching basketball for a long time, I’m a historian of the game.”

James has always touted himself as a true basketball savant when it comes to the history of the game and there is no franchise with more history than the Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers have housed many of the greatest players of all time including Magic Johnson, Kobe Bryant, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jerry West, Wilt Chamberlain and Shaquille O’Neal. With the addition of James, it’s arguable that the top five players in the history of the game have played for the Lakers outside of Michael Jordan.

LeBron has removed himself from the list of not playing for the Lakers as he looks to bring yet another championship to Los Angeles in the upcoming 2021-2022 season. Without this magical day three years ago, we wouldn’t even be having the discussion of the Lakers going after their 18th championship, and for that reason, fans should be forever grateful.

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