There hasn’t been a lot to get excited about around the Lakers lately. The team has lost four of their last five games and is 1-3 since Anthony Davis returned to the lineup. LeBron James may return soon, but the wait for him certainly hasn’t been very enjoyable as the team limps towards the playoffs.
None of that is what I want to talk about today. I want to zoom out to happier times. Sometimes we get so in the weeds here with how the team is doing on the court that we overlook the most important reality for the Lakers: That when this team is healthy, they have the two most cohesive superstars on the planet, and in the end, maybe that’s all that matters.
We’ll get to see how healthy and how good they look on the court in tandem soon, but today let’s rewind to training camp. The team was still basking in their post-championship glow, and watching James and Davis laugh and record a silly game for the Lakers’ jumbotron is enough to make anyone smile:
Go behind-the-scenes for @AntDavis23' long awaited return to the court and see what has him and LeBron laughing on the sidelines on a brand-new #BackstageLakers tonight following the post-game show. pic.twitter.com/uKZ6Yw4OUE— Spectrum SportsNet (@SpectrumSN) April 30, 2021
Don’t you feel a little better after watching that? How could you not?
It’s also not the only time this season we’ve got to see a small glimpse of how much the two stars’ enjoyment of each other has fueled the Lakers’ chemistry. Their bond appears to be as genuine as possible, as was endearingly summed up by Davis in an earlier conversation he had with Marc Stein of the New York Times:
I approached Davis, after covering him a fair bit in his New Orleans days, and told him his presence seemed to make James happier and looser than his regular-season norm.
“He makes me happy,” Davis said.
But for those of you that don’t care about joy, there is a functional purpose to this bromance as well, one that Davis shared with Jovan Buha of The Athletic earlier this season, prior to both of their injuries:
Davis’ voyage to L.A. was about taking agency in his life and controlling his destiny. He wanted the pressure and spotlight that some players wilt under. Last postseason, he responded with historic production. This season, it’s about doing it again — and being even better.
“I think being in that spotlight alongside Bron helped make me a better player,” Davis said.
The spotlight will be as bright as ever when the Lakers enter the playoffs in the bottom half of the bracket in the next few weeks, but those are concerns for another day. For now, it’s just fun to remember that Davis and James have done this before, raising their games and elevating their teammates when the lights are brightest. On and off the court, they mesh perfectly, and they also appear to have a great time doing it.
So in between all our little freakout sessions about Andre Drummond’s role or how Markieff Morris is shooting, maybe we should try to laugh along with them, because this is supposed to be fun for us, too, isn’t it?