LeBron James spoke publicly for the first time since agreeing to terms and eventually signing with the Los Angeles Lakers, and it sounds like president of basketball operations Magic Johnson was a pretty big factor in why he chose to head west.
“Being able to partner with Magic Johnson,” James said in a video on his “Uninterrupted” media platform about why he joined the Lakers and why he’s so excited to open his I Promise School on Monday.
“[Magic was] someone I kinda looked up to when I was younger,” James continued. “I wanted to make no look passes like Magic, wanted to get on the break and be showtime like Magic.”
James will now get that chance on a roster that appears to be the fastest team he’s ever played on, and it’s also interesting he used “partner” the way he did. LeBron has very few peers and the fact that he sees Magic as one is pretty telling and a great foundation upon which to build the team they both think can win a championship.
James’ respect for Johnson both now as an adult, and during his childhood also make a ton of sense.
As a person, Magic serves as an inspiration to millions and has probably played a key part is saving actual lives thanks to how he’d handled HIV, as well as his charitable work regarding the disease and other causes.
Johnson is one of the most successful athlete businessmen the world has ever produced, and might actually be the brightest stars in a city famous for them. He really is the example of the impact James is trying to have on and off the basketball court.
Speaking of basketball, LeBron really is the modern evolution of Magic. Standing at the exact same height (though obviously a lot bigger) with elite vision, pass-first tendencies and a mind for the game that is quite probably unequaled across the entire NBA, he’s basically Magic 2.0.
Their approach to the game is also very similar. While James could dominate games by scoring (and will wind up one of the most successful scorers in league history), he makes his impact all over the court.
Magic is one of the few players in NBA history who could be any game’s best player even while scoring 10 points or fewer. His passing can fill several highlight videos and his ability in transition was the guiding force of one of the greatest and most exciting teams ever.
Here’s hoping LeBron can help recreate that, and partner with Johnson to bring Showtime 2.0 to Los Angeles.