LeBron James has decided to move to the Western Conference for the first time in his career, inking a four-year max deal with the Los Angeles Lakers to make his L.A. residence his permanent home year-round for the foreseeable future.
The reaction in L.A. to LeBron’s signing was predictably one of excitement from the vast majority of Lakers fans, as any time the best player in the world decides to join your team it’s a good thing. That said, there is a small subset of Lakers fans that are fiercely loyal to Kobe Bryant, to the point of not wanting to accept LeBron given that they have been anti-LeBron for so long because in the minds of most fans LeBron has long since passed Kobe on the list of all-time NBA greats.
Can’t have nice things. pic.twitter.com/q5ICU19Dlk
— Jim Ice (@Jim_ICE) July 21, 2018
That has led to some tension in Laker Nation, particularly when it comes with how to celebrate the King’s arrival in L.A. Shortly after LeBron signed, a mural popped up in L.A. proclaiming James the “King of L.A.” and it was quickly defaced. It was cleaned up and changed to “King in L.A.” which didn’t help matters and eventually the original artist painted over it.
A second effort at a mural was put up to try and appease those that weren’t happy that LeBron was already being thrown into the pantheon of Lakers legends before he played a game. This one showed James looking up at Kobe, Shaq, Magic, Wilt, and other Laker legends atop the Staples Center and Forum, but unfortunately that wasn’t enough and on Saturday there was white paint splattered over LeBron.
It’s unfortunate, but also somewhat predictable. As noted, the large majority of Lakers fans are excited about LeBron and that he’s bringing the Lakers back to prominence after some very lean years in L.A. That said, there is the small minority that won’t accept him coming into “Kobe’s house” and will continue to fight against his arrival, and all it takes is a few committed to ruining murals to continue to cause this to happen.
It’s especially frustrating because the murals have been pretty incredible and the artists that have put them together have put tremendous amounts of time and effort into them. We’ll see if artists continue to put murals up or if they’ll wait a bit until LeBron plays and fans maybe cool off a bit.
The artist says he will clean it up!
— Sportie LA (@sportiela) July 21, 2018