LeBron James explains why he chose Lakers in first comments since joining them
In his first public comments since signing with the Lakers, LeBron James said playing for one of the most iconic teams in sports was an overwhelming factor.
“This is kind of like a dream come true for me,” James said in a video published Sunday through his media company Uninterrupted. “Growing up I was a Cowboys fan, I was a Bulls fan, I was a Yankees fan. I’ve always felt like that was one of the historic franchises. You look at the Lakers. Being able to play for a historic franchise with so much history. Now being able to partner with Magic Johnson, someone I kind of looked up to when I was younger, wanted to make no-look passes like Magic, wanted to get on the break and be ‘Showtime’ like Magic, and then for it to all come to fruition at this point, I think timing is everything.”
James’ comments came on the eve of the opening of his “I Promise” school, created by a partnership between the LeBron James Family Foundation and the Akron (Ohio) Public School system.
The video opened with his excitement about the first day of school.
The “I Promise” school is a public school in Akron that will offer services for students and their families. It will serve some of the lowest-performing students in Akron in an effort to improve their performance and education. James’ foundation helped create the model for the school and is its largest donor.
James joined the Lakers with a four-year contract worth $153.3 million this month, after the worst five-year period in the franchise’s history. James had long had interest in becoming a Laker, and they secured his commitment after a meeting between James and Johnson, the Lakers’ president of basketball operations, in the first hours of free agency. The pair met in one of James’ Brentwood homes along with James’ agent, Rich Paul, and discussed basketball and business.
James knows his task, to help the Lakers recover their past glory, will not be easy. The organization has won 16 championships, the last in 2010, but has missed the playoffs in each of the last five seasons.
“That’s what we’re trying to get back to and I’m happy to be a part of the culture and be a part of us getting back to that point,” James said. “This is where it is today. This is where I have on one hand, my school which I’m blown away by. And then I have my next chapter in my personal life being a part of the Lakers organization and continuing to do what I love to do and that’s to play the game of basketball. So, there it is.”
Follow Tania Ganguli on Twitter @taniaganguli
All things Lakers, all the time.
Get all the Lakers news you need in Dan Woike's weekly newsletter.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.