We’ve reached the doldrums of the NBA offseason. Teams’ signings have been finalized, new players have been officially introduced, and the league has already announced most of the marquee games on the NBA schedule. But now we’re left with 79 days until the Los Angeles Lakers play their first game of the 2018-19 regular season. What can we possibly do to fill the time until then?
Here are some ideas:
1. Stock up on some new gear. The Lakers released their new Showtime-inspired jerseys last week, which means it is time for Los Angeles fans to start updating their wardrobes. Even if you bought a jersey as recently as two years ago, there’s a good chance that player is no longer on the Lakers, as only Brandon Ingram, Ivica Zubac, and Luol Deng remain from the 2016-17 squad. (And really, who was buying a Deng jersey then?)
Plus, with LeBron — the literal modern embodiment of Showtime — in the fold, it may be hard to resist adding a No. 23 jersey to what may already be a comprehensive collection of Laker paraphernalia.
2. Familiarize yourself with LeBron James’ production schedule. Although there’s no doubt among Los Angeles fans that LeBron had valid basketball reasons for joining the Lakers, there remains a strong subset of individuals who point to his Hollywood aspirations as the main justification. Truthfully, James has had quite the summer in terms of his entertainment portfolio.
He has been linked to the production of television shows for no fewer than six major networks (HBO, Starz, NBC, ABC, Netflix, and Showtime), as well as a comedy movie co-produced by Channing Tatum. That’s all in addition to the rumors that he’ll be starring in Space Jam 2, because who can forget James’ wonderful supporting performance in Trainwreck, also as himself.
LeBron will likely be entertaining Laker fans on the court for years to come, but he’s keeping us interested off of it as well.
3. Catch up on highlights. Our very own Laker Film Room has put together oodles of videos showcasing what to look forward to this season, but it might be the most fun to just watch this one on loop.
4. Play NBA 2K. Unfortunately, you’ll have to wait until September to get the 20th anniversary special edition with LeBron on the cover. But the Lakers finally have the best player in the game, and that’s objectively, mathematically verifiable in 2K land. It’s your chance to be just like the Lakers’ young core, both on the screen and off, given how much we know the youngins love their video games. Whether or not you’re satisfied with the ratings given to Josh Hart and Kyle Kuzma, there’s plenty of practice time to get good enough to beat the juggernaut Warriors, regardless of whether they’re worried about any other teams in real life.
Then again, if video games aren’t exactly your thing, you can always…
5. Watch the Sparks. Los Angeles’ other purple and gold basketball team is in the home stretch of the WNBA season, led by former MVPs Candace Parker and Nneka Ogwumike, along with All-Star guard Chelsea Gray.
For Lakers fans accustomed to team success, the Sparks are a natural fit, having made the last two WNBA Finals, including winning it all in 2016. The team is battling for a top-two seed in the postseason, which would ensure the Sparks a bye through the playoff semifinals. Wherever Los Angeles lands, the WNBA postseason is marvelous entertainment, with the top eight seeds qualifying regardless of conference, and two rounds of single elimination games to amp up the tension.
Staples Center hasn’t hosted many Laker games of consequence in recent years, but that hasn’t been true for the Sparks, who just clinched their seventh consecutive playoff berth.
Waiting for the most anticipated Lakers season since 2012 will likely be painful, but hopefully, when Los Angeles takes the floor at the Moda Center on October 18, it will have all been worth it. If not, at least there will be lots of LeBron James-produced TV to guide us through the dark days.