In the ever-evolving landscape of the NBA, nothing remains static. Yet, LeBron James, after two dominant decades in the league, remains a force to be reckoned with. His achievements are well-documented, with a trophy cabinet that most players can only dream of.
But every king's reign comes to an end, and it seems LeBron is ready to entrust his crown – at least in Los Angeles – to fellow superstar, Anthony Davis.
Davis: The Next Laker Legend?
"He is the face [of the franchise]," James declared during the Lakers' annual media day.
LeBron's assertion is not to be taken lightly, especially when one considers the pantheon of legends that have donned the purple and gold. "You look at all these [retired] numbers that surround this facility, all the greats that have come here and AD is one of them," he added.
As the off-season unfolded, there was notable anticipation surrounding the contracts of both players. They were initially set to run parallel to each other, with both James and Davis having an option to extend their stay in L.A.
till the 2024-25 season. However, Davis made a groundbreaking move in August by inking a three-year, $186 million max extension, ensuring his stay with the Lakers through 2028. To put it in perspective, this staggering deal set a league record as the most lucrative annual contract extension, averaging an eye-watering $62 million per season.
James expressed his elation, saying, "I was very, very happy and extremely proud. It's super dope to see him get that extension to be a part of this franchise for years and years. And it's been a treat so far playing alongside him."
Team Over Titles: Davis’ Perspective
When questioned if the lucrative new contract made him feel the weight of leading the Lakers, Davis' response was profoundly team-centric. "I think this is the Lakers' team, and I play for the Lakers," he remarked, avoiding any grandiose self-proclamation.
Yet, Davis is under no illusion about his significance to the team. Recognizing his veteran status, the 30-year-old said, "I think I'm going to be the second-oldest guy here now so guys lean on me a lot. I feel like it's my responsibility, being one of the leaders of the team alongside Bron." As the NBA landscape shifts and legends pass on their legacies, the Lakers are poised for a new era under Anthony Davis. With the support of LeBron and a rich history behind him, Davis is geared up to etch his name amongst Laker greats.