The breakdown of the “stress-filled” (sarcastic air quotes) time leading up to the Lakers signing of Lebron has come out today, and I’ll tell you…it’s boring as shit, but I still can’t get enough of it.
The absolute best part is that Magic Johnson arrived over an hour early to his Free Agent meeting with Lebron in LA on the evening of June 30th, and waited in his car until the free agency period started at 9PM Pacific.
I love this story on so many levels.
How did this happen???
I am suspending disbelief for a second here, and working on the assumption that they truly observed the NBA FA deadline
Lebron lives in LA. Magic lives in LA. The Lakers offices are in LA. I know traffic can be bad in Los Angeles- especially when you have to take The 10, to The 405 to Wilshire in to Brentwood- so you may leave early, but is there any rational explanation for arriving somewhere in town an hour early?! No. Absolutely not.
Which begs the question….
Did he do it to impress Lebron?
Like, did Magic think this would give him a leg up with Lebron? So while weighing the different offers, if Lebron was about to go back to Cleveland, but would say:
“Hold up. Who was that young go-getter from the Lakers? I like how he got here an hour early and waited outside. That REALLY showed me something. That’s it! I’m going to LA!”
If anyone is crazy enough to think that, it would be Magic.
Clearly this came from Lakers’ sources
This is the way this was written up in ESPN:
Like an anxious date, Magic Johnson arrived an hour early for his scheduled meeting with LeBron James on June 30, and waited in his car outside James’ California home until the moment arrived.
It sounds like Magic got in his ’05 Accord, and drove over sweaty-palmed, box of chocolates in hand, and sat outside nervously rehearsing his lines…hoping desperately to impress.
I’m fairly certain he was actually in a blacked out Denali, equipped with Satellite TV and a fully functioning office…probably skyping with Shaq, and cutting business deals. He’s a better businessman than he was a basketball player, so I’ve heard.
He did seal the deal
Obviously, this visit was what locked Lebron into the Lakers. So Magic’s tactics worked.
Magic must’ve really sold Lebron. On the legacy of becoming a Laker. And about his plans for the future of the team. Right Magic?
“He didn’t need to hear that. 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.”
OK, so Lebron must’ve just spent the 24 hours after opting out of his deal REALLY studying up on the Lakers. Because, clearly, while under the employ of the Cavs, he wouldn’t have focused so much on another team.
After painstakingly analyzing and weighing his options…what was the resolution?
TV Special? Promo for Space Jam 2?
Nope. It was a text message to the Lakers’ GM Rob Pelinka, at 4:30 the next day.
“The text just said ‘Congrats,’ and it had balloons,” Pelinka said. “It was one of those moments in life you’ll never ever forget. Everything went in slow motion.”
Please, I’m begging you….don’t tell Rob that the phone just does that automatically. This guy seemed to genuinely think there was some doubt about the outcome here, and it sounds like the balloons really made his day. Don’t ruin it for the guy. Let him enjoy this for now…because with this roster, they’ll be the 5 seed, and Lebron will be angling to get him fired before you know it.