LeBron James' transition to the storied Los Angeles Lakers franchise has not exactly been as easily digested by fans as you would expect when their favorite team acquires the greatest basketball player on the planet. Many fans are responding accordingly and celebrating Hollywood's new king, but others seem to be vehemently against his arrival. Most notably, a mural declaring him the new "King of L.A." in Venice, California was defaced by locals before ultimately being painted over by the original artist just a week ago. Now, another brave artist has painted his own mural that may be more widely accepted by the purple and gold's loyalists.
The latest art piece that appeared on Melrose Ave. was created by California artist Gustavo Zermeño Jr. and depicts LeBron in his new threads looking up at Lakers legends Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O'Neal, Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Wilt Chamberlain. The five all-time greats are positioned above the arena from their respective playing era—the Staples Center or The Forum. The phrase "DON'T HATE THE PLAYER HATE THE GAME" is also scribed onto the wall as well.
While the official intent behind this mural has yet to be confirmed, it could be interpreted a few ways. One way could be that this is yet another case of Lakers diehards disrespectfully shunning LeBron for very confusing reasons by saying that he is on the outside looking in at the all of the franchise's established legends. This could also be a compromise of sorts to calm all of the hate and show that he will have to prove himself in his new home before he is considered among the team's all-time elite.
Earlier today, Zermeño posted his latest "update" to the mural on Instagram that skews the intention of the artwork to being more of an absolute troll job. The muralist revealed a "mystery guest." The surprise player was none other than one of the worst draft busts in NBA history, and one of Stephen A. Smith's most disliked players, Kwame Brown. While this seems to just be some clever editing by the muralist, it kind of seems like a jab at James, no?
Call me crazy, but all of the LeBron hate is going to dissipate as soon as he starts having nightly 30-10-10 games at the Staples Center. At any rate, hopefully this mural has more staying power than the last one did.