The Morning Column: August 6, 2021
LeBron James continues to look for motivation, the Lakers are still in the market for a 37-year old free agent, Chargers selling more season tickets than they expected, and "Roundball Rock" is back
☀️ Good morning on a beautiful Friday and welcome to The Morning Column. Please subscribe if you haven’t done so already. It’s FREE – no paywalls and no pop-ups – and it will be delivered to your inbox every weekday morning.
To avoid the email ending up in your spam, social or promotion folder, please add email@example.com to your contacts. You can also email me there as well.
OK, let’s get to it!
1. 👑 Keep that same energy
When the Lakers signed Carmelo Anthony on the heels of signing Dwight Howard and Trevor Ariza, my initial thoughts were the same as many others tracking NBA free agency this week.
“That’s great but damn this team is old!”
They had added six players 32 years or older in free agency, which according to Elias Sports is the most a team has added in one offseason. They are not only the oldest team in the league but depending on what other moves they make could be the oldest team in NBA history. For the first time in franchise history the Lakers are going to have a team with five players who will be 36 years or older during the season and eight players 32 years or older.
So, I tweeted out the names and ages of those players after Anthony signed:
The tweet gained some traction and the next day my phone blew up when LeBron James tweeted and later deleted two tweets about people talking about the Lakers’ ages.
I doubt James was referring to my tweet. I was hardly the only one shedding light on the Lakers’ ages but all the jokes, memes and GIFs on Twitter about the Lakers’, um, very experienced team, will serve as motivation for James going into next season. In fact, this Lakers championship run might be the first ever fueled by memes and GIFs of old people and dad shoes. James is always looking for something to push him even if he has to invent it. Remember he was the one who popularized “#WashedKing” when no one was saying he was washed.
This isn’t a criticism of James. All the great players create something at times to motivate them when they’re on top even if it’s not real. Just re-watch The Last Dance to see all the times Michal Jordan did it in his career.
While the Lakers are an old team, as I mentioned in an earlier column, this Lakers team was built for the next 10 months; not the next 10 years, and I think they’re going to win the championship next season. We’ll see how long I keep that “narrative energy” once next season starts and we see how all the new pieces fit together. Either way, I have no doubt James will keep that same narrative energy of looking for the next tweet or perceived slight to motivate him to win another championship.
2. 🏀 Andre Iguodala picks Golden State over the Lakers
There was one 37-year old free agent that did not chose to sign with the Lakers. Andre Iguodala told Jonathan Abrams of the New York Times that he will sign a one-year contract to return to the Golden State Warriors. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the Lakers and Brooklyn Nets were in the running to sign the former NBA Finals MVP before he chose the Warriors. The Lakers still have three open roster spots and could be in the running for another 37-year old free agent – J.J. Redick.
3. ⚡️ Chargers exceed ticket goals
The Chargers will host a fan fast and open practice at SoFi Stadium on Sunday and the most surprising thing for those skeptical about the Chargers’ prospects for success in Los Angeles may be the turn out at the event and at home games this season. The Chargers have sold around 50,000 season tickets for the upcoming season, which exceeded their expectations. The Chargers, like the Rams, played their first season at SoFi Stadium in front of no fans. Prior to that, the Chargers played their first three seasons back in Los Angeles at the 27,000-seat Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson.
4. 🥇🏐 The A-Team brings home the gold
The American pair of April Ross and Alix Klineman beat Australia's Mariafe Artacho del Solar and Taliqua Clancy in straight sets, 21-15,216, to win gold in beach volleyball. The duo is known as “The A-Team” and there are “A-Team” signs around Klieman’s hometown of Manhattan Beach and a celebration is being planned for them when they return home. Ross, 39, is the oldest woman to win a medal in beach volleyball and is also the first to medal with three different partners. The USC volleyball great won bronze at the 2016 Rio Games with Kerri Walsh Jennings and silver at the 2012 London Games with Jennifer Kessy.
5. 🥇🏀 USA-France play for gold
The USA men’s basketball team will play France tonight at 7:30 p.m. PT in the gold medal game. It’s a perfect time for basketball fans in Los Angeles who are used to the Lakers and Clippers tipping off at 7:30 p.m. at Staples Center and the game will be shown live on NBC. That’s not only great for fans who don’t have Peacock but anyone who misses “Roundball Rock,” the musical score composed by John Tesh for the NBA on NBC from 1990-2002 and is being used during basketball games at the Olympics.
6. 📆 Aug. 6, 1984: Carl Lewis wins the long jump at the Los Angeles Olympics
Carl Lewis, who won four track and field gold medals at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, won his second in front of a sellout crowd of 92,600 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Lewis leaped 28 feet 1/4 inch on his first long-jump attempt, which would be the best of the night.
7. 🎂 Happy Birthday Max Kellerman
Happy birthday to my former ESPN colleague, Max Kellerman, who is turning 48 years old today. Kellerman is best known today as the co-host of First Take with Stephen A. Smith on ESPN but everyone in L.A. still misses Kellerman being the co-host of Max & Marcellus with Marcellus Wiley on ESPNLA 710. No matter what you think of Max, you have to respect his hustle and work ethic. When you watch Max on Boxing today on ESPN, remember it started as a public access show in New York over 25 years ago.
8. 🎟 Ticket Time
Here are the “get in” prices for tickets if you’re thinking about going to a game this weekend:
⚾️ Los Angeles Angels at Los Angeles Dodgers – $45 (Friday, Saturday, Sunday)
⚽️ Vancouver Whitecaps at LA Galaxy – $23 (Sunday)
9. 📺 On The Air Today
⚾️ 7:10 p.m. – Los Angeles Angels at Los Angeles Dodgers – SportsNet LA, Bally Sports West
🏀 7:30 p.m. – USA vs. France (men’s basketball gold medal game) – NBC
10. 📻 The Arash Markazi Show
On yesterday’s show, we discussed Max Scherzer’s amazing 10-strikeout, curtain call debut with the Dodgers in a 7-5 win over the Houston Astros in front of a sold-out crowd at Dodger Stadium.
Listen to The Arash Markazi Show on The Mightier 1090 Monday-Friday from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m., following The Rich Eisen Show. The Mightier 1090 has the second strongest radio signal in North America and can be heard from “Baja to the Canadian Rockies.” You can also listen to the show on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Play and Stitcher.
And please click below to subscribe to The Morning Column at Substack. It’s totally free and will be delivered to your inbox every morning. Please also consider supporting my fellow colleagues at Substack (and former colleagues at ESPN): Marc Stein, Henry Abbott and Chad Ford on the NBA, Molly Knight on MLB, Ariel Helwani on MMA, Dan Rafael on boxing, Leander Schaerlaeckens on soccer, Chris Peters on the NHL and Peter Bodo on tennis.
That’s it for today. Talk to you Monday!