The Lakers may be one of the top teams in the league with a new Big Three of LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook that will debut on Tuesday, but it’s never too early to begin scouting for the future.
And as part of the ongoing celebrations for the league’s 75th season, the NBA put together a video recreating some of the most iconic photos over that span. In a decision that would mostly only lead to jokes online, current players sported jerseys of former players to recreate those photos, like Chris Paul in a Celtics jersey to replicate a photo of Bob Cousy or Damian Lillard recreating Michael Jordan’s final shot as a Bull.
Given their success throughout the years, the Lakers had many moments to choose from, and the league chose two very interesting players to recreate them. Lifelong Laker fan moonlighting as a Boston Celtic Jayson Tatum was chosen to recreate the photo of Kobe Bryant’s game-winning 3-pointer against the Miami Heat, while LaMelo Ball recreated a photo of a Magic Johnson pass.
Originally tweeted by NBA on TNT’s Twitter account, the video was taken down. But it’s the internet, so nothing is ever really deleted, and Tatum’s section specifically talking about Bryant was saved by more than a few people.
Jayson Tatum recreates Kobe's game-winner over Wade! @jaytatum0 #NBA75 pic.twitter.com/UI6HWToivN— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) October 19, 2021
This was so dope to be apart of https://t.co/CD8L5yRcaQ— Jayson Tatum (@jaytatum0) October 19, 2021
WHAT THE HELL IS THIS pic.twitter.com/VyvXTZY7Zh— Ry (@JustRyCole) October 19, 2021
Putting a Celtic in Lakers gear is always going to lead to jokes, and the internet reacted in kind on Tuesday.
October 19, 2021
Whatever Laker fan came up with this idea deserves their number retired at Staples https://t.co/RcUXttkE3s pic.twitter.com/f6dmoDBivg— Harrison Faigen (@hmfaigen) October 19, 2021
Fortunately for Celtics fans, they can rest easy, because Tatum has definitely never said he was once a Lakers fan that hated the Celtics or that his favorite players were almost all Lakers, and he certainly never had arguably the greatest Laker ever as a supporter of his. I’m sure this video is simply a one-off, and Celtics fans definitely shouldn’t worry.
As for LaMelo, his history of being a Lakers fan isn’t quite as documented. Obviously, his older brother Lonzo played for the Lakers and, at one point, LaVar was campaigning for all his sons to be drafted by the Lakers (though, LaVar has done that with half the teams in the NBA at this point).
But still, LaMelo’s play in his first game in Los Angeles last season against the Lakers left an impression on LeBron James. He claimed to not be excited about his first game against the Lakers, but also he grew up in Southern California just outside of Los Angeles and grew up during Kobe Bryant’s heyday, which left some sort of impression on him.
On a totally unrelated note, both Tatum and Ball could enter free agency together in the 2024-25 season. Just a random fact that obviously has no bearing on anything.
At the end of the day, Lakers fans should be thanking the NBA for putting together this video and giving them ammunition to troll fans without even needing to do photoshops themselves. That was really courteous of the league, and a truly thoughtful 75th anniversary gift. Maybe less so for Celtics and Hornets fans, but we appreciate it.
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