LeBron James and the Lakers Are Struggling So Badly That They Just Brought in Will Smith to Talk 'Togetherness'


When you want to talk about antisemitism, you bring in a Nazi.

Wait, that’s not right. Let’s try this again. When you want to talk about coherent and complete sentences, you bring in Joe Biden.

That’s definitely not right. How about, when you want to talk about “togetherness” and unity, you bring in noted man-slapper Will Smith.

That last one still doesn’t seem right, and yet, as is often the case throughout history, the facts are stranger than fiction.

The struggling Los Angeles Lakers announced on Wednesday that they brought in Hollywood megastar Will Smith to their facilities to discuss important topics such as “strength through togetherness, and practicing gratitude in times of great challenge.”

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Yes, it’s the same Will Smith who stunned the Academy Awards audience in March when he got out of his seat and slapped presenter Chris Rock.

Smith, for his part, seemed to be doing some light promotional work for his upcoming Apple TV Plus movie “Emancipation.”

Typical Hollywood shilling notwithstanding, the actor’s appearance at the Lakers’ facility raised some eyebrows for a litany of reasons.

First and foremost, as several commentators pointed out, how is the man who publicly slapped another for telling an innocent joke on national television any sort of representation of “togetherness”? Maybe the Lakers should have tapped the guy who was the victim in that much-talked-about assault?

This desperate move — part of the Lakers’ “Genius Talk” series — is a fitting nadir for a once-proud franchise that is visibly flailing for solutions.

LeBron James Suffers the Worst Loss of His 20-Year NBA Career

The Lakers lost to the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday 110-99, dropping their record to a horrific 0-4 to start the season.

The loss has some historical implications.

First, this is the first time Lakers star LeBron James has started a season 0-4 since his rookie year nearly 20 years ago. James, often accused of jumping to the most favorable situation in pursuit of NBA titles, always has been able to rely on a steady diet of All-Star teammates to carry the load. That streak appears to have come to a halt.

Do you think Will Smith apologized enough for slapping Chris Rock?

Ignominiously, the other bit of history that James’ Lakers achieved Wednesday: They are officially the worst shooting team to start an NBA season — ever.

The Lakers shot 8-for-30 from behind the line in the loss to Denver. That paltry 26.7 percent shooting percentage continues the literal worst 3-point shooting in history to start a season with at least 100 attempts through four games, according to ESPN.

The Lakers have shot 25 percent 20 percent, and 18.2 percent from the 3-point line in their other three losses.

Here’s a visual representation how bad that is:

The Lakers are, quite literally, in a class all to their own when it comes to their shooting woes.

Worst of all, it appears that James has virtually quit on this team already.

His poor body language in a recent loss to the Portland Trail Blazers reeked of someone who’s done playing with his current crop of teammates.

Trying to apply a salve to this fractured relationship between teammates via Will Smith is laughable.

Given the historical challenges facing the Lakers and the fact that they are hostage to their own superstar (James has repeatedly harped on the Lakers’ front office for not mortgaging the team’s future via trading away future draft assets to help him in the here and now), perhaps the team should have turned to someone other than a social pariah who might or might not be in a hostage-like marriage himself.

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Bryan Chai has written news and sports for The Western Journal for more than five years and has produced more than 1,300 stories. He specializes in the NBA and NFL as well as politics.
Bryan Chai has written news and sports for The Western Journal for more than five years and has produced more than 1,300 stories. He specializes in the NBA and NFL as well as politics. He graduated with a BA in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona. He is an avid fan of sports, video games, politics and debate.
Class of 2010 University of Arizona. BEAR DOWN.
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