For JaVale McGee, joining the Los Angeles Lakers has almost indisputably been one of the best professional decisions he’s ever made. The chance to team with LeBron James on one of the highest-profile teams in the league has shown the world how valuable McGee can be on the court, and how much fun he can be off of it.
McGee is also whip-smart, far from the character that things like “Shaqtin a Fool” have portrayed him as, so it should come as no surprise that he saw this type of year coming. In a Q&A with Zion Olojede of Complex Sports, McGee said the unique opportunities that L.A. would provide him both on and off the court were a large part of why he joined the Lakers:
Congrats on being a Laker, What made you choose LA?
It’s kind of crazy question. It’s LA. It’s a beautiful city. It’s amazing for exposure for basketball and business. In my career now, I’m really business-minded and I felt like it would be great for my career and brand. Also it’s one of the greatest organizations in NBA history. Also, one of the greatest players was coming so there were so many facets to it that made me feel like I made the right decision.
The impact James’ presence has had on McGee can’t be overstated either. McGee’s talents as a roller and lob threat can be fully maximized alongside a player and passer of James’ caliber, something McGee also saw coming. He noted that he’s enjoyed getting the chance to see that James lives up to the hype as a teammate as well:
Speaking of LeBron, you played with the Warriors for the past couple years and have ended LeBron’s season twice. Now, you’re teaming up with. What’s that like being on his side?
It’s humbling because at the end of my career I’ll be able to say that I played with the greatest players in the league in my time and won championships with them. To be able to say that alone, is amazing. LeBron is a great player, great friend, and a great teammate all-around so it’s cool you get to see behind the scenes and not just what the media wants to portray.
McGee will be able to do more than just say he played alongside some of the greatest players to ever do it. He’ll be able to say he was a beloved teammate of them who helped them win, as he’s doing for a Lakers team that is 2.6 points per 100 possessions better defensively while he’s on the floor, according to NBA.com.
If McGee can keep helping Los Angeles clean up defensive mistakes at that level (even as the team improves on that side of the ball), playing for the Lakers will continue to be just as good for him as he hoped it would be when he chose to play for them over the summer.
You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.