LeBron James is now a member of the Los Angeles Lakers, and this will likely be another of his free agency decisions that will shape the future of the league. While there were numerous speculations about James’ next destination prior to the start of free agency, no one exactly knew where the best basketball player in the world will end up until the official confirmation came on July 1st revealing the will be a Laker. Now the Lakers’ president of basketball operations, Magic Johnson, decided to give us a glimpse into the whole process of getting James to Los Angeles.
According to Johnson, he arrived an hour early before his scheduled meeting with LeBron James and waited in front of his house until the free agency officially kicked off. When the two men sit down together at 9:01 p.m. PT and started talking, Johnson didn’t want to waste time talking about the Lakers legacy and what it means to be a part of that franchise.
“He didn’t need to hear that.” –Johnson told Spectrum SportsNet. “He already knew the team, maybe better than I did. He broke the roster down right in front of me,” Johnson said. “… He knew every single guy, the strength, and weaknesses on our team.“
Magic Johnson revealed that he and James instead talked about basketball.
“We had a great time of going back and forth, here we are two guys, similar,” – he added. “Both from the Midwest. Both grew up poor. Both love to compete. Both love to win, and I think both excel at the highest level. We connected right when I walked in the door. Just two guys that talk free to each other, and talk basketball, and that’s what I love about LeBron.“
Los Angeles Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka told Spectrum SportsNet that they found out about James’ decision a day after the meeting when the players’ agent Rich Paul sent him a simple text message.
“The text just said ‘Congrats,’ and it had balloons,”- said Pelinka. “It was one of those moments in life you’ll never ever forget. Everything went in slow motion.”
Pelinka then received a phone call from James, and the big plan to bring the championship back to Los Angeles was set in motion.