If you showed up to a Fourth of July barbecue wearing LeBron James’ new Los Angeles Lakers jersey, you’d be the freshest dressed around the grill.
You’d also be a bit of a wizard — or perhaps a sucker who bought a bootlegged tank top — because the hottest garment in Tinseltown won’t be available until at least next week. And no, it’s not because of massive demand following King James’ latest decision.
Why then? Well, the way it works is that jerseys for free agents who change teams only enter production after a player’s contract is finalized. Therefore, the earliest the no. 23 (or maybe no. 6?) purple-and-gold jersey could hit the sewing machine is at the end of the moratorium period, which expires Friday at noon.
Fans are able to pre-order the hot item, however. Currently, King James has all four for the top-selling jerseys on the NBA Store’s website — two adult and two youth options — with the predominantly gold shirt out-ranking the purple one.
On Sunday afternoon, James’ agency, Klutch Sports, announced that the three-time NBA champion and four-time league MVP agreed to a deal with the Lakers for $154 million over four years. Though widely speculated since last summer when James purchased a second home in Brentwood, the move has massive ramifications for the league.
James is leaving Cleveland as its all-time leader in a number of categories, including games played, points, rebounds, assists and steals. In an Instagram Story, James thanked Cleveland for his past four years there, and said the city will always be his home.
But for now, with a burgeoning entertainment company, SpringHill Entertainment, his move to Los Angeles makes sense from a business standpoint. For the Lakers, the timing couldn’t be better. James’ arrival comes at a tumultuous period in the team’s history, having missed the playoffs every year since 2012-13.
Now we just need those jerseys.