LeBron James Apologizes For “Jewish Money” Lyric Instagram Post: “Thought It Was A Compliment”

Read on: Deadline.

“My bad.” We’re paraphrasing, but that’s basically what LeBron James said last night about an Instagram post in which he wrote, “We been getting that Jewish money. Everything is Kosher.” It wasn’t some kind of …

Five-Part Lakers Docuseries In Works On Magic & Kareem Showtime Era

Read on: Deadline.

EXCLUSIVE: There’s a big series coming up for the Los Angeles Lakers, and LeBron won’t crack the starting lineup. The Los Angeles Media Fund and the Lakers are teaming up with Haven Entertainment to produce a five-episode docu-series focusi…

LaVar Ball Offers To Coach Lakers, Says He Can Do It “With My Eyes Closed”

Read on: Deadline.

LaVar Ball has offered to coach the Los Angeles Lakers, according to an interview, a job he claims he can do with his eyes closed.
The voluble and controversial Ball, who stars in his own Facebook series, Ball in the Family, and runs the Big Baller Lea…

Lakers And Rockets Fight, ESPN Wins With Best Opening Week Rating Since 2014

Read on: Deadline.

LeBron James’ home debut with the Los Angeles Lakers ended up being a memorable one Saturday, and not just because of King James. An on-court brawl in the pivotal final minutes of a close game between the Lakers and the Houston Rockets all but ma…

Ryan Coogler Teams With LeBron James to Produce ‘Space Jam 2’ for Warner Bros.

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

LeBron James is hitting the ground running since making Hollywood his new home. The NBA player is teaming up with “Black Panther” helmer Ryan Coogler, tapping the director to produce the follow-up to Michael Jordan’s beloved “Space Jam.”

James’s production company, SpringHill Entertainment tweeted out a photo confirming the addition of Coogler to the “Space Jam 2” team.

???? ???? ???? pic.twitter.com/Ay6wRaB915

— SpringHill Ent. (@SpringHillEnt) September 19, 2018

TheWrap previously exclusively reported that Terence Nance, the filmmaker behind HBO’s “Random Acts of Flyness,” will direct.

Bringing Coogler, who’s been a hot commodity on the heels of “Black Panther,” on board is a big get for the project.

“Space Jam 2” has been rumored for a while, with a number of names attached to the project. “Fast and Furious” director Justin Lin was previously in talks to direct. Andrew Dodge (“Bad Words”) wrote the script. Charlie Ebersol developed a previous iteration of the project and is expected to be involved in some kind of producing capacity, should the sequel move forward.

Also Read: ‘Space Jam 2’: Terence Nance in Advanced Talks to Direct Lebron James (Exclusive)

James signed a production deal with Warner Bros. and “Space Jam 2” is being developed with the new Los Angeles Laker forward, though he’ll need to approve the script before officially signing on to star. Other basketball players are expected to cameo, though it’s currently unclear whether Bill Murray will return.

Michael Jordan starred with Murray in the original “Space Jam,” which grossed $230 million worldwide. The Chicago Bulls guard led a team of Looney Tunes characters, including Bugs Bunny, against a squad of giant aliens.

The Hollywood Reporter first reported the news of Coogler’s involvement.

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LeBron James To The Lakers Has Huge Potential On The Court – And For His Entertainment Enterprises

Read on: Deadline.

Basketball talent isn’t the only reason – and maybe not even the main reason – that LeBron James is coming to the Los Angeles Lakers.

Now a more permanent resident of the capital of American show business and one of the major media c…

LeBron James Signs $154 Million Deal With Los Angeles Lakers

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

After a year of speculation, LeBron James is once again leaving Cleveland and, for the first time in his career, is taking his talents to the West Coast.
On Sunday afternoon, James’ agency, Klutch Sports, announced that the three-time NBA champio…

LeBron To Lakers Rumors Take A Hit, As Paul George And Chris Paul Sign Elsewhere

Read on: Deadline.

The dream of LeBron James coming to the Los Angeles Lakers is still in play, but two potential key parts of the proposed dream team that would lure the King appear to have opted out of joining L.A.
As the National Basketball Assn.’s free agent pe…

Kobe Bryant: Oscar Makes Me Feel a ‘Greater Sense of Responsibility’ to Bring Diversity to Hollywood

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant says that his Oscars win last weekend has given him a greater sense of “responsibility.”

“How do I carry this night beyond this night?” Bryant said to Jimmy Kimmel on Thursday night’s broadcast.

“Now there’s a greater sense of responsibility. How do I provide more opportunities for even more diverse and new voices to be heard in this industry?” he said. “In the animation business, there’s a serious lack of diversity.”

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Neither Kimmel nor Bryant addressed the backlash that sprouted up after the basketball player’s Academy Award win for Best Animated Short Film for his “Dear Basketball.” During and following the show’s telecast, several people on social media brought up the sexual assault case against Bryant from years ago.

When Bryant was 24, he was accused by a 19-year-old hotel employee of sexual assault in Colorado. He was arrested on a felony charge at the time, but because his accuser was unwilling to testify, the case was eventually dropped.

“Although I truly believe this encounter between us was consensual, I recognize now that she did not and does not view this incident the same way I did,” Bryant said at the time, after the charges were dropped. “After months of reviewing discovery, listening to her attorney, and even her testimony in person, I now understand how she feels that she did not consent to this encounter.” He later settled a civil suit filed by his accuser out of court.

Watch the full clip above.

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LaVar Ball To Lakers: My Two Younger Sons Join The Team Or Lonzo Walks

Read on: Deadline.

Basketball patriarch LaVar Ball might be thousands of miles away from Los Angeles, but he’s still firing away at the franchise.
Ball issued an ultimatum to the team today through the Lithuanian press: His son, rookie point guard Lonzo Ball, will walk away from the team when he’s eligible for free agency unless brothers LiAngelo and LaMelo join him on the Lakers.
The younger Balls currently play for Prienu Vytautas in the Lithuanian League (LKL), a minor team in that…

LaVar Ball and Sons Take Over WWE’s ‘Monday Night Raw’ (Video)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Lonzo Ball will soon be calling the Staples Center home when the Los Angeles Lakers’ first-round draft pick plays for the team next season, but on Monday he took over the stadium for very different reasons.

The newest NBA recruit was joined by his loud-mouthed dad, LaVar, and younger brother, LaMelo Ball, for WWE’s “Monday Night Raw” — and the family certainly made an impact in their pro wrestling debut.

The trio joined The Miz for a very memorable edition of his WWE “must-see” talk show, but not as usually happens with the Balls, not everything went according to script.

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Never ones to shy away from self promotion, the ring featured four mannequins wearing “Big Baller” T-shirts, with LaVar introducing Lonzo as “not only the face of the Big Baller brand, but the face of the Lakers,” as his oldest son made his Staples Center debut.

“It is an honor to sit in this ring with the Big Baller family,” The Miz told them, sucking up to the special guests while trying to jump into a partnership with them.

That idea did not sit with LaVar, who told him that the Miz stood for “miz-interpretted zone.” (Yep, that’s definitely not a real word).

“Or, it stands for a million zippers … you’d better stay in your lane, or the hunt is on and you’re the prey,” Ball added.

“There are only two dudes better than I am and I’m both of them,” he went on to boast. (Yup, that doesn’t make a lot of sense either…)

Also Read: WrestleMania 33: WWE Superstar John Cena Proposes to Girlfriend Nikki Bella

LaVar and The Miz then both stripped their shirts off — and it was on, especially when Dean Ambrose came out offering to represent the Big Baller Brand.

LaMelo, a 15-year-old at Chino Hills High School, also discovered the danger of a wearing a mic on live TV as he told his dad: “Beat that n—–.” Oops, that’s a hard lesson to learn.

WWE was quick to respond on a statement saying: “The inappropriate language used by a guest during the ‘Miz TV’ segment was not scripted nor reflects WWE’s values,” the Los Angeles Times reported.

Also Read: WWE’s Daniel Bryan on ‘MITB’ Opening Ladder Match Finish: ‘I Saw a Lot of Women Upset’

Watch the video of the whole circus above — and be sure to keep an eye out for the ongoing LaVar show once the NBA season actually tips off in October.

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ESPN’s Dan Le Batard on Magic Johnson Criticism: ‘Social Justice Warriors Are Eating Their Own’

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

This week’s announcement that Magic Johnson has been named team president for the Los Angeles Lakers sparked celebration from many long-suffering fans, but caused a division among some of ESPN’s top talent.

“Highly Questionable” host Dan Le Batard kicked off a firestorm when he criticized the five-time NBA champion’s ability to run the team, saying he only got the top job because “he’s famous and charming.”

Le Batard’s comments triggered an instant reaction, most notably from fellow ESPN host, Mike Wilbon, who blasted him on Twitter asking: “Did the electricity go out in LeBatard’s studio the last two decades to the point he can’t even acknowledge the vast successes?”

Also Read: LA Lakers Name Magic Johnson President of Basketball Operations

Never one to hold back his opinion, Le Batard attributed the angry responses to a America’s bigger race issue on ESPN Radio’s “The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz” on Friday, the New York Post reported.

“Now, I am in the middle of a storm where there are a lot of people laughing that I am in the middle of a racism controversy,” he said. “The social justice warriors are eating their own. I found it interesting what it became. It’s instructive to what happens in America now.”

Also Read: ESPN ‘SC6’s’ Jemele Hill, Michael Smith on NBA All-Star, Bringing a Fresh Attitude to ‘SportsCenter’

While he was born in New Jersey, Le Batard’s parents are exiled Cubans, and his father Gonzalo “Papi” Le Batard (above left) has regularly appeared on his shows.

“Once that fuse got lit, it became an explosion all over ESPN,” he continued. “I found it fascinating to watch, as all the black voices on ESPN lined up, but only the black voices, as far as I can tell.”

Also Read: Magic Johnson Somehow Loses to Luke Wilson in ‘Tonight Show’ Beer Pong (Video)

One of those “black voices” was former NFL player and current ESPN analyst who said: “I can’t tolerate this dude! I can’t tolerate him saying these things about Magic Johnson because his facts are completely wrong … I’m going to read between the lines, I’m going to read between the lines on this one,” he said. “To me, he’s saying ‘because he’s a black dude,’ that’s the way I look at it.”

Le Batard also pointed out that critics should listen to the “whole show” as he “gave other reasons for it and it was a balanced discussion, but that’s the clip that played on ESPN all day.”

Also Read: ESPN’s ‘Mike & Mike’ Share Weirdest Super Bowl Moments: Think Real-Life ‘Puppy Monkey Baby’

One reason Le Batard had initially given for his opinion of Magic’s qualifications to run Kobe Byrant’s former team was his Twitter comments over the years. “His Twitter account should disqualify him from the job,” he said. “We should have just done that. Can we do that? In fact, his Twitter account should host a late-night show. It would last longer than the 11 days his show did — ‘The Magic Hour.’”

Johnson is renown for praising NBA players via social media that have then gone on to be busts, or for the hiring of Phil Jackson as president of the New York Knicks, which isn’t working out too well either.

Of course, that ignited plenty of fiery responses — on Twitter.

See Wilbon’s tweets below.

A spokesperson for ESPN declined to comment on the matter.

So LeBatard bases Magic’s worthiness on a failed talk show and failed coaching career but not the 25 years since of success in business?

— Michael Wilbon (@RealMikeWilbon) February 23, 2017

A failed talk show indicates more about Magic as a boss of basketball than building and running numerous successful businesses?

— Michael Wilbon (@RealMikeWilbon) February 23, 2017

Did the electricity go out in LeBatard’s studio the last two decades to the point he can’t even acknowledge the vast successes?

— Michael Wilbon (@RealMikeWilbon) February 23, 2017

A failed talk show indicates more about Magic as a boss of basketball than building and running numerous successful businesses?

— Michael Wilbon (@RealMikeWilbon) February 23, 2017

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LA Lakers Name Magic Johnson President of Basketball Operations

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

The Los Angeles Lakers have named Earvin “Magic” Johnson the new president of Basketball Operations.

To clear space, General Manager Mitch Kupchak and Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Jim Buss have both been fired. Buss remains an owner of the team with the rest of his family, most notably sister and team president Jeanie Buss.

“Today I took a series of actions I believe will return the Lakers to the heights Dr. Jerry Buss demanded and our fans rightly expect,” Jeanie Buss said in a Tuesday media release. “Effective immediately, Earvin Johnson will be in charge of all basketball operations and will report directly to me. Our search for a new General Manager to work with Earvin and Coach Luke Walton is well underway and we hope to announce a new General Manager in short order. Together, Earvin, Luke and our new General Manager will establish the foundation for the next generation of Los Angeles Lakers greatness.”

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“I took these actions today to achieve one goal: Everyone associated with the Lakers will now be pulling in the same direction, the direction established by Earvin and myself,” she added. “We are determined to get back to competing to win NBA championships again.”

“It’s a dream come true to return to the Lakers as President of Basketball Operations working closely with Jeanie Buss and the Buss family,” said Johnson. “Since 1979, I’ve been a part of the Laker Nation and I’m passionate about this organization. I will do everything I can to build a winning culture on and off the court. We have a great coach in Luke Walton and good young players. We will work tirelessly to return our Los Angeles Lakers to NBA champions.”

Johnson, an NBA Hall-of-Famer and a Lakers legend, played 13 seasons with the team and won five championships. He had been an adviser to the team up until this point.

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On Kupchak, Jeanie said, “We are grateful for the many contributions Mitch has made to the Lakers over the years and we wish him all the best.”

On brother Jim’s ousting, she added: “Jim loves the Lakers. Although he will no longer be responsible for basketball personnel decisions, he is an owner of this team and we share the same goal: returning the Lakers to the level of greatness our father demanded. Our fans deserve no less.”

The struggling Lakers have the second-worst record in the NBA’s Western Conference this season, sitting at 19 wins and 39 losses. Only the Phoenix Suns rank worse, and by just one win.

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Lamar Odom Opens Up About Life-Threatening Brothel Binge: ‘I Was in a Dark Place’ (Video)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

More than a year after being found unconscious in a Nevada brothel, NBA alum Lamar Odom is opening up about the life-threatening incident, telling Travis Stork of “The Doctors” that he “was in a dark place” prior to the incident.

In an interview that Stork said took place prior to Odom entering rehab “a number of weeks ago,” the former Los Angeles Laker said, “I wasn’t in a good place mentally, especially mentally, before the incident happened.”

“My wife at the time [reality TV personality Khloé Kardashian], we were going through some things. I was in a dark place,” Odom added. “So, I guess they say everything happens for a reason. So, I guess the reason is I’m here and I can tell the story.”

Also Read: Lamar Odom Checks Into Rehab (Report)

Odom added that he wasn’t aware that he had been in a coma until Kardashian informed him.

“I could even speak at the time. I couldn’t talk,” Odom said. “Nothing would come out when I would open my mouth. So, I was scared.”

Odom made headlines last year when he was found unconscious at the Love Ranch brothel in Nevada on Oct. 13, after checking in for what was intended to be a five-day, $75,000 binge with two working girls.

Also Read: Lamar Odom’s $75,000 Brothel Binge: How He Racked Up That Massive Bill

Although brothel employees initially said that Odom had admitted to taking cocaine before arriving at the cathouse and had taken up to 10 herbal sexual enhancers, a subsequent investigation indicated that the ex-Laker, who’s struggled with substance abuse in the past, may have taken cocaine while at the Love Ranch.

In July, Odom reportedly relapsed. According to TMZ, the former basketball player boarded a plane in Los Angeles, but was so intoxicated that he vomited in the galley and the plane’s bathroom before takeoff and had to be escorted off the flight.

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Lamar Odom Checks Into Rehab (Report)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Troubled NBA veteran Lamar Odom,who was hospitalized after being discovered unconscious in a Nevada brothel in late 2015, checked into a rehab center last week, People reports.

A source told People that Odom is “in good spirits,” but entered the 30-day program as a “precautionary measure.”

“Lamar checked into rehab a week ago. He plans to stay for 30 days. It’s a substance abuse program, but he was not abusing drugs when he went in. He is clean. This is a precautionary measure,” the source said, adding, “His friends and family encouraged him to go in and he agreed and made the decision.”

Also Read: Lamar Odom’s $75,000 Brothel Binge: How He Racked Up That Massive Bill

Former Los Angeles Lakers forward Odom made headlines last year when he was found unconscious at the Love Ranch brothel in Nevada on Oct. 13, after checking in for what was intended to be a five-day, $75,000 binge with two working girls.

Although brothel employees initially said that Odom had admitted to taking cocaine before arriving at the cathouse and had taken up to 10 herbal sexual enhancers, a subsequent investigation indicated that the former Laker, who’s struggled with substance abuse in the past, may have taken cocaine while at the Love Ranch.

Also Read: Khloe Kardashian Responds to Lamar Odom Relapse Reports With One Character

In July, Odom reportedly relapsed. According to TMZ, the former basketball player boarded a plane in Los Angeles on Monday night, but was so intoxicated that he vomited in the galley and the plane’s bathroom before takeoff and had to be escorted off the flight.

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