Lakers Land $100-Million Jersey Patch Deal With Korean Food Brand Bibigo

This partnership is about more than just dumplings and basketball – food and sports have the power to unite and connect people from all walks of life. The devotion required to create a meal filled with love and care is akin to the devotion needed to swallow a three-point shot game after a fight. That’s why Bibigo and the Lakers both have passionate fans all over the globe – they live off the devotion needed for their craft. This connection is suitable for a natural partnership that is particularly organic.

As the new official global marketing partner of the Los Angeles Lakers, Bibigo will partner with the team to create and share inspiring content, drive consumer engagement and offer unique opportunities to introduce fans to the delicious flavors and benefits of Korean food. Bibigo will implement its marketing programs through Lakers’ properties such as signage in the arena, digital content elements on Lakers.com and the jersey patch designation.

Source: LA Times

What The Russell Westbrook Trade Means For The Los Angeles Lakers

The quest to maximize whatever elite years remain in LeBron James took another turn, and perhaps the sharpest one yet, with the Los Angeles Lakers getting Russell Westbrook in a major Draft-day trade.

This was a deal that required the Lakers to cross their fingers while shaking hands with the Washington Wizards. That’s because, as combustible as Westbrook is — he’s rewritten all the triple-double records in the book — his skill-set fits only in certain systems and situations. Placing Westbrook next to LeBron and also Anthony Davis will require adjustments and sacrifices with everyone involved in this Big Three experiment, but especially with Westbrook.

First, the deal itself: Westbrook, the 2024 second-round pick and 2028 second-round pick go to the Lakers and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Montrezl Harrell, Kyle Kuzma and the 22nd pick go to Washington, as first reported by The Athletics’ Shams Charania.

Westbrook is easily the heavyweight in the deal, as a former MVP and nine-time All-Star who’s coming off his third career season averaging a triple-double – 22.2 points, 11.5 rebounds and 11.7 assists in his only season with the Wizards.

Westbrook now goes to his fourth team in four years, and just as curious, he’s aligned with yet another superstar in an effort to develop championship chemistry. There was no payoff in Oklahoma City with Kevin Durant and then Paul George, or the Rockets with James Harden, and certainly not the rebuilding Wizards who had little to offer as help besides Bradley Beal.

With the exception of reaching the NBA Finals with Durant — and that happened almost 10 years ago — Westbrook has advanced as far as the conference finals just twice despite those starry tandems.

Westbrook proved last season at age 32 that he’s still a highly productive point guard who plays at a rapid pace. That aids him at reaching the rim for layups, pushing the ball upcourt on the fast break, and out-rebounding taller players even in traffic. It also results in turnovers, too, as a result of his high-risk, high-usage style.

He’ll be teammates with LeBron, a player he respects, and a player who’d be willing to adjust for someone of Westbrook’s caliber. One area where LeBron can and probably must sacrifice is ball-handling. While LeBron assumed that role since arriving in LA three years ago to great success, Westbrook is most effective with the ball. Without it, Westbrook must play off the ball, where his shooting issues become more glaring.

Also, Westbrook has never had a big man with Davis’ talent. Therefore, the change of scenery plus an uptick in the caliber of running partners should trigger something positive within Westbrook, or at least the Lakers hope.

Whether it results in another championship is anyone’s guess, though. LeBron and Davis are coming off a frustrating season because of injuries largely to blame for their first-round playoff exit. Now they’ll get a celebrated third partner who will allow them to recharge and reboot.

The reason for adding Westbrook is clear: The Lakers are doing whatever they can, within the constraints of the salary cap, to give LeBron as many swings at the championship plate as possible. With LeBron entering a 19th season, he’s running out of time to get a fifth ring. And Westbrook is running out of teams.

Source: NBA

Nike Was Unwilling To Give Kobe Bryant’s Contract Similar ‘Lifetime’ Structure Held By LeBron James And Michael Jordan

The estate of Kobe Bryant and his wife Vanessa are no longer affiliated with sneaker giant Nike, as the late Lakers great’s contract with the company has now expired.

“With Kobe Bryant’s five-year, post-retirement endorsement extension with Nike having expired this month, Vanessa Bryant and the Kobe Bryant estate elected not to renew the partnership, she confirmed to ESPN in a statement Monday night,” wrote Nick DePaula of ESPN.com.

Kobe Bryant spent his first several years being sponsored by Adidas, even though Adidas was never a big-time player on the basketball shoe market.

Eventually, he joined Nike, starting a fruitful partnership for both parties.

“Kobe’s Nike contract expired on 4/13/21,” Vanessa Bryant, widow of the Lakers legend, told ESPN. “Kobe and Nike have made some of the most beautiful basketball shoes of all time, worn and adored by fans and athletes in all sports across the globe. It seems fitting that more NBA players wear my husband’s product than any other signature shoe.”

Kobe Bryant and eight others died in a tragic helicopter crash in Calabasas, Calif. last January.

His influence on basketball and its culture is still seen to this day, as several current NBA players still wear his signature sneakers.

Interestingly, there are reports that before his passing, Kobe Bryant was planning on leaving Nike to form his own sneaker company and disrupt the entire industry.

That desire may have been fueled by some differences with Nike.

“According to a source, Bryant and the estate had grown frustrated with Nike limiting the availability of Kobe product during his retirement and after his January 2020 death in a helicopter crash,” wrote DePaula. “There was also frustration with the lack of availability of Kobe footwear in kids sizes, according to sources.

“Nike, sources said, had presented an extension offer that was not in line with expectations of an ongoing ‘lifetime’ structure similar to the Nike Inc. contracts held by both Michael Jordan and LeBron James.”

Source: Lakers Daily

LeBron James Leaving Coca-Cola, Set To Sign Deal With PepsiCo

LeBron James is preparing to join PepsiCo after a long-standing sponsorship with Coca-Cola, sources told Front Office Sports.

James would join a growing team of NBA and WNBA stars pitching the rebranded “MTN DEW”: Zion Williamson of the New Orleans Pelicans; Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers; Jamal Murray of the Denver Nuggets; and A’ja Wilson of the Las Vegas Aces.

According to sources, James will become the face of Mountain Dew’s upcoming “Rise Energy” line after nearly 18 years as an endorser for Coca-Cola’s Sprite and Powerade brands.

The 36-year old James could also pitch Pepsi’s flagship cola brand, said sources.

The pending deal may also include integration with Blaze Pizza, which currently offers Coca-Cola products at its more than 300 locations. James owns an approximate 10% stake of the chain.

Representatives for PepsiCo declined to comment. A spokesperson for James also declined to comment. 

An 18-year-old James first signed with Coca-Cola in 2003 as a No. 1 draft pick. The four-time MVP has since appeared regularly in Sprite and Powerade commercials. In 2014 the beverage giant gave him his own signature drink, “Sprite 6 Mix by LeBron James.”

A spokesperson for Coca-Cola told Front Office Sports that his deal with the Atlanta-based soda giant expired in September.

“LeBron’s contract came up at a time when both he and The Coca-Cola Company were actively reviewing all of its resources to make sure it was investing in places that ensured long-term growth,” Coca-Cola said. “After many discussions with Lebron and his team, we mutually agreed to part ways.”

PepsiCo’s beverage brands and the NBA have become increasingly entwined. 

In 2015, PepsiCo replaced Coca-Cola as the official food and beverage partner of the NBA and WNBA. The blockbuster deal ended Coke’s 28-year partnership with the NBA.

Rather than playing up its eponymous cola, PepsiCo has focused its NBA advertising and activations on citrus-flavored Mountain Dew. 

The 2020 All-Star Game’s 3-Point Contest introduced the “DEW Zone” — two attempts from six feet behind the arc, worth three points each. For the third straight year, Mountain Dew also offered fans a branded “Courtside Studio,” with player appearances, music and fashion.

Parent PepsiCo, meanwhile, expanded into caffeinated beverages, buying Rockstar energy drinks for $3.85 billion last March. 

James is one of the world’s most popular and successful endorsers, following the path blazed by the likes of Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods. 

He signed a lifetime deal with Nike in 2015 that could be worth as much as $1 billion over its duration. He’s been one of the brand’s key ambassadors since he entered the league with the Cleveland Cavaliers. 

It’s estimated that James will eclipse $1 billion in career earnings before he retires from the NBA; his endorsements, production companies and other sources account for more than half of that figure.

In December, James signed a two-year extension with the Lakers that will push his career NBA earnings past $420 million by the conclusion of  the 2022-23 season. 

Source: Front Office Sports

JOB FINISHED | A look back at the media’s disrespect of the 2020 Lakers

They said LeBron came to Los Angeles just to make movies and that he had a better chance of winning an Emmy than a championship.

They said that even with Anthony Davis, the Lakers’ roster sucked & was clearly worse than the Clippers.

They said they were an overrated 1-seed who needed wishes of good luck to beat the Portland Trail Blazers & Houston Rockets.

Instead, the Los Angeles Lakers are your 2020 NBA Champions. And in case you forgot how dead wrong they’ve been since day one? Just sit back and watch.

Only 10 Cities Have Won Multiple Titles In A Year – Los Angeles Now Tied With New York For The Most

Since 1903, 10 cities in the United States have had their clubs win multiple titles. This includes teams from seven major leagues (NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, MLS, WNBA, NWSL).

A good deal of Los Angeles’ multiple titles were won by basketball teams. The Lakers and the Sparks won titles in 2001 and 2002.

The Galaxy have contributed the most of any Los Angeles team, with titles in 2002, 2012 and 2014 in such years. The NHL’s Kings also won championships in 2012 and 2014.

Los Angeles is the only city to have three teams win a championships in a single year – with the Lakers, Sparks and Galaxy capturing crowns in 2002.

Much of New York’s success can be attributed to its baseball teams, with the Yankees contributing four titles to multiple-title years. Since championships in 1986 by the Mets and the NFL’s Giants, New York has been dormant.

Source: LA Times

NBA Came In $1.5 billion Under Revenue Projections In 2020, Targets Dec 22 As Start To Coming Season

The board is targeting a Dec. 22 start to what would be a season of 70 to 72 games, with the NBA Finals ending in June again as has been in the case for many years, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. The person, who spoke to The Associated Press Friday on condition of anonymity because no plan has been finalized, said the possibility of fans being at games would hinge on how a particular market is faring against the coronavirus at that time.

There are other options, such as waiting until later in the season to begin play with the hope that more arenas would be able to have fans. But starting in December instead of mid-January or later could generate a difference of roughly $500 million in revenue, the person said.

Revenue projections for the league this season were missed by about $1.5 billion, the person said. The losses were the result of a combination of factors — the shutdown caused by the pandemic, the cancelation of 171 regular-season games, completing the season in a bubble at Walt Disney World without fans, the nearly $200 million price tag for operating that bubble and a yearlong rift with the Chinese government that saw NBA games not shown on state television there.

Source: The Associated Press