It’s showtime in La-La Land.
Or, Happy LeBron James-Staples Center-debut day in Los Angeles. This is the day Los Angeles Lakers fans have been waiting for since Kobe Bryant retired in 2016 and the energy was palpable.
The (not-so) grand entrance
The fans couldn’t help themselves. The moment of silence was not so silent as the teams stood on the floor waiting for the game to start.
The fans in this building are so excitable right now. Couldn't stay quiet for the moment of silence, couldn't stay quiet through the national anthem and now they're booing Mike D'Antoni
— Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) October 21, 2018
After the boos for former Laker coach Mike D’Antoni, the show they were waiting for began – the introduction. The hype video, filled with dunks, highlight plays and photos of the players was aired on large screens in the middle of the court.
Then came James who received an extended applause, but surprisingly little other fanfare as he jogged onto the court.
"16th campaign, from St. Vincent-St. Mary High School … LeBrooooooon James." pic.twitter.com/hmk7jlg8X1
— ESPN (@espn) October 21, 2018
Fans were likely just as bewildered at the less-than-enthusiastic opening that he received.
— Chris Bezaire (@capemaychris) October 21, 2018
Lakers player announcer is 🗑 sounded like he was announcing employees at the library 📚. “At Forward in his 16th year working the card catalog LeBron James. (yawn)” Bruh you pose to be like “Ladies and gentlemen get yo ass up for our Forward and my MF’n friend LEBRON JAMES!!!!!”
— JStar (@MrJStar25) October 21, 2018
Yo @Lakers get this PA announcer outta there😑 these young players what that hype stuff, the crowd wants that hype stuff. Intro was 🤢, JaVale to Bron slam, he says lebron james like it’s nothing.
— ᗪᗩᐯiᗪiᑕᕼoᒪyᑕoᐯeᑎᗩᑎt (@GgrimKre3p3RR) October 21, 2018
Tickets were hard to come by, with the cheapest tickets going for $200 online before game time, but still the fans came out in full force for James.
L.A. Live was packed with No. 23 jerseys and there were posters with lines of fans signing messages for the King.
Celebrities had their own messages, some were aired on TV leading up to the game.
Justin Timberlake, a longtime Lakers fan, celebrated the return of great basketball. While comedian Bill Hader joked that he didn’t know exactly who LeBron was or what he did, the city seemed excited.
Even Mayor Eric Garcetti got in on the LeBron action.
— Mayor Eric Garcetti (@MayorOfLA) October 20, 2018
Painting the town LeBron
The LeBron show kicked off hours before the game. Billboards, ads and messages were all over the city, dedicated to L.A.’s new star.
Beats got in on the hype with a larger-than-life, building-sized painting.
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) October 21, 2018
While Nike went the digital route, releasing a new ad for the Hollywood-like story of a kid from Akron turned NBA legend.
— Nike (@Nike) October 20, 2018
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