Media day is full of all sorts of quotes that are fairly predictable and the Lakers’ one was no different. Players are going to have spent the summer putting on muscle, they’re coming into the season healthy off their best summer ever and everyone is excited for training camp.
All the formulaic questions overshadow the more fun moments of the day. In that vein, here’s a look at three of the best things you missed from Lakers media day.
Rui Hachimura loves his dog and Shohei Ohtani
After becoming one of the key pieces in the team’s second-half surge and playoff run, Rui Hachimura was rewarded handsomely. He spent this summer working out with LeBron James, cheering on Shohei Ohtani and loving his dog...in some order.
Hachimura and Ohtani have been supporters of one another dating back to the former’s time with the Wizards. Despite throwing out the first pitch at a Dodgers game this summer, Rui didn’t hesitate to sing Ohtani’s praises.
Rui Hachimura is, not shockingly, a big Shohei Ohtani fan.— Jacob Rude (@JacobRude) October 2, 2023
"He's amazing...As a Japanese, I'm so proud of him. It's hard to do this...To come over here, you have to learn the culture and language and he plays the best at baseball."
Along with Shohei, Rui is also a big fan of his dog, Jake (a great name, I might add). He wasn’t around for media day, though he was present at Rui’s contract signing this summer.
"He's literally my son," Rui, on his dog Jake.— Harrison Faigen (@hmfaigen) October 2, 2023
Consider this the beginning of a petition to let pets at media day in 2024.
Jaxson Hayes calls LeBron James old...kind of
Jaxson Hayes didn’t go as far as to stick his foot in his mouth and call LeBron old like Jalen Hood-Schifino did after being drafted. Instead, he simply shared an anecdote that did the work for him.
Hayes grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, after being born in 2000. That means he was in school for the bulk of LeBron’s time in Cleveland, which perhaps gives him perspective on LeBron entering Year 21.
Jaxson Hayes to @ESPNLosAngeles on playing with LeBron James: "It's insane. I grew up in Ohio...I was in 3rd grade and he was averaging 30 and now I'm his teammate and he's averaging 30. It's insane."— Jacob Rude (@JacobRude) October 2, 2023
He’s actually not even exaggerating. LeBron averaged right at 30 points per game in his final three years in Cleveland from 2007 until 2010. Fast forward to last season when 28.9 points after averaging 30 points last year.
Let this be today’s example that LeBron is incredible.
Taurean Prince guarantees greatness
One of the underrated signings of the summer was Taurean Prince. The 3-and-D guard is a proven role player who has been successful at multiple stops in his career.
Offensively, he’s a career 37.2% 3-point shooter, a respectable figure. But that makes his prediction for his shooting percentage from range this year all the wilder.
Taurean Prince says he will "100%" shoot 40% from three this season.— Harrison Faigen (@hmfaigen) October 2, 2023
For the record, Prince has shot at least 40% from the 3-point line once in his career and that was two seasons ago. He’s been a respectable shooter for his career but that also doesn’t account for the fact that shooters immediately get worse when coming to the Lakers.
In fact, Lakers math is trying to figure out how much a shooter’s 3-point percentage will drop once he puts on a Lakers jersey.
You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.