If you’re even the most casual basketball fan, by now you’ve likely heard the news that nearly broke the internet Sunday night: LeBron James is signing a massive 4-year, $153.3 million deal with the Los Angeles Lakers.
The biggest basketball news since, well, maybe forever stunned the sports world. Naturally, the announcement took social media by storm, with NBA pros, analysts and fans all weighing in. Emotions ranged from shock to sadness to humor. Perhaps more important than anyone else’s opinion, Lakers legend Kobe Bryant delivered his seal of approval for The King’s move to L.A.
Easily the biggest free-agency news for the Lakers franchise since Shaquille O’Neal signed with the team in 1996, it’s also the biggest basketball headline in general since James announced his return to Cleveland in 2014 after his stint in Miami. Now he’s leaving his hometown team for the second time in his career, but the move to Los Angeles seems even more shocking than “The Decision” to join the Heat in 2010. It has major implications for the entire landscape of the league, especially in the Eastern Conference, where the void of the best player in the game creates a major power shift away from the Cavaliers to other teams like the Boston Celtics, Philadelphia 76ers, Toronto Raptors and even the Indiana Pacers, who took Cleveland to a hard-fought seven-game series in the 2018 Playoffs. In the West, James’ move to the Lakers has many fans questioning how the team will match up against the defending champion Golden State Warriors.
Likewise, sneaker heads are now eager to see what James’ first Lakers-colored signature Nikes will look like.
Simply put, the 2018-19 NBA season is going to be one of the most anticipated seasons in years. While you wait for tipoff this fall, check out some more of the initial reactions of the news from around the league and NBA fans on social media.