In retrospect, it was obvious: LeBron James wanted to be a Laker.
There was talk of him staying in Cleveland or considering Philly, but the decision came so quickly it became clear this is what LeBron wated. While there was plenty of speculation about why LeBron wanted to come to Los Angeles, the man himself had not addressed it.
Until now. LeBron spoke on his Uninterrupted platform:
“You look at the Lakers,” he said. “Being able to play for a historic franchise with so much history, and now being able to partner with Magic Johnson, someone I kinda like looked up to when I was younger and 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. For me to be in this position now, the excitement that I have to be a Laker, I’m happy to be apart of it because I believe the Lakers is a historical franchise, we all know that, but it’s a championship franchise and that’s what we’re trying to get back to. I’m happy to be a part of the culture and be a part of us getting back to that point.”
As Jerry West said, L.A. was where LeBron wanted to be, the Lakers just needed to not screw it up. They didn’t. And LeBron gave the Lakers four years to put a title contender around him (three-plus-one, technically).
Now we’ll see if Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka can assemble that kind of roster. So far the focus has been on flexibility to chase the next star, and keeping the young core, but the harder decisions are still ahead. With the veterans brought in so far — Lance Stephenson in particular — it’s fair to wonder about the team building, but the real tests are yet to come.