Paul Oberjuerge header image 2

Follow the Son: LeBron Chooses L.A., Lakers

July 1st, 2018 · No Comments · Lakers, NBA

During the Watergate scandal of the mid-1970s, the Washington Post source known as Deep Throat told a reporter that he needed to “follow the money” to unravel the story.

When it came time for LeBron James to choose where he would play for the 2018-19 NBA season, and beyond we could have homed in on one reliable piece of evidence:

Where his son would be going to high school.

Former NBA star Gary Payton relayed the information to BlackSportsOnline way back on June 9: LeBron’s elder son, “Bronny” James, who aspires to an NBA career, had enrolled at Sierra Canyon School, a private school in Chatsworth, California, not far from downtown Los Angeles, a school that has attracted all sorts of celebrity offspring.

Lakers fans might have benefited from that knowledge and purchased tickets for the coming season before LBJ announced/confirmed today he was joining the Lakers for four seasons and $154 million, a development which will drive the cost of Lakers tickets through the Staples Center ceiling.

Think it through:

What father is going to allow his 13-year-old son, a promising basketball talent entering ninth grade, to go to school in Los Angeles … when he, the father, is playing in another NBA city?

Not going to happen. Once 13-year-old Bronny was linked with Sierra Canyon, LeBron was headed for Los Angeles, and it most certainly would not be for the Clippers.

Of all the rumors over the past three weeks, “son enrolling at an L.A. school” should have told us all we needed to know — that the NBA’s best player had decided on the Lakers and would be taking his talents to Southern California.

Now that things are official, we can start to consider what this means for the Lakers.

They now have the NBA’s best player, and that makes Lakers games destination TV throughout the coming seasons.

It does not mean the Lakers will be world-beaters, right off.

This is the era of multiple-superstar championship contenders, and LeBron gives the Lakers … one superstar. Their first since Kobe Bryant’s body betrayed him, earlier in this decade.

That led to five consecutive seasons, through the most recent, without making the playoffs.

That ought to change, with LeBron around, but the 2018-19 Lakers seem unlikely to throw a scare into the likes of the Golden State Warriors or Houston Rockets.

The Lakers will need to sign, or trade for, at least one more big name. Such as Kawhi Leonard, known to be unhappy in San Antonio. Or wait for one of their kids, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma or Lonzo Ball, to develop into a superstar, which is not going to happen overnight, if it happens at all.

LeBron may not have any new first-tier help until next summer, though he is already attracting middle-level veterans, such as center JaVale McGee, and swingman Lance Stephenson, who already have signed with the club.

The NBA’s most glamorous team has a history of adding elite players at their hour of need — Wilt Chamberlain in 1968 when they feared they would never beat the Boston Celtics; Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1975 when the club was struggling, post Jerry West; Shaquille O’Neal in 1996, when their best player might have been Nick Van Exel; and, now, LeBron James. The former stars each won at least one championship with the Lakers. For Kareem, it was five; Shaq saw three Lakers championship banners lifted into the rafters.

LeBron knows he is joining a team with very high expectations, where fans are unhappy about the path of the club since its last championship, in 2010.

But with the NBA’s best player in the fold, it seems clear the Lakers’ “wilderness” era is over. Now it is a question of how much better they can be, with LeBron James as the focal point of the team.

It should be little surprise that he is headed for Staples Center. We knew a year ago that he owns two homes in the exclusive L.A. neighborhood of Brentwood. He has kids in local schools. He plans a post-basketball life in the world’s entertainment headquarters.

And his son is going to spend his four high school years playing ball in an L.A. suburb — with Pops and his four-year Lakers contract never far away.

Welcome to town, LBJ. We should have seen it coming.



0 responses so far ↓

  • There are no comments yet...Kick things off by filling out the form below.

Leave a Comment