LeBron James is leaving home for Hollywood and an iconic team, and The Los Angeles Lakers have a new superstar - L.A.-Bron. The four-time NBA MVP announced lastnight that he has agreed to a four-year, $154 million contract with the Lakers, joining one of the league's most storied franchises and switching conferences to try and dethrone the Golden State Warriors and grow his own legacy.
Unlike his two previous forays in free agency, James did not drag out his decision and made the announcement less than 24 hours after NBA free agency opened. His management agency, Klutch Sports Group, announced his agreement with the Lakers with a simple, short release. It was a stark contrast from eight years ago, when a poorly conceived TV special to announce his departure from Cleveland backfired and damaged James' image. James isn't planning any more comments and there won't be a welcoming press conference or celebration in Los Angeles, a person familiar with his plans said Sunday night on the condition of anonymity. James will make his next public comments on July 30 in Akron when he opens a public school started by his family foundation.
It was all different this time.
The game's biggest star will now lead a young Lakers team - run by Lakers Hall of Famer Magic Johnson - that has been overmatched in recent years while rebuilding. James wasn't planning to have any face-to-face meetings, but Saturday night he met with Johnson, who sold him on his vision for the Lakers, the person told AP. The Lakers' rich legacy is something that has always appealed to James and it wasn't long after his announcement that he heard from Kobe Bryant, who won five titles during 20 seasons with Los Angeles. The chance to play for one of America's most storied franchises is a new challenge for James, who prides himself on knowing the game's history. In Los Angeles, championships are the standard and he'll feel new pressure in upholding the legacies of Johnson, Bryant, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jerry West and other Lakers greats.