Lonzo Ball fulfilled his dream of becoming a member of the Los Angeles Lakers when the team selected him No.2 overall in the draft, and they didn’t waste any time voicing their expectations.
In the Lakers’ press conference that introduced Lonzo Ball, President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson called him “the new face of the Lakers”. He went on further to say that Ball, “Will lead us back to where we want to get to.” Although Johnson and the L.A. organization have put a lot of pressure on Ball, it’s nothing he isn’t used to.
It’s showtime. Magic Johnson welcomes the man he calls “the new face of the Lakers” Lonzo Ball pic.twitter.com/ghacc34Ri2
— J.A. Adande (@jadande) June 23, 2017
LaVar Ball, Lonzo’s father, has been putting high expectations on his son as well going as far as to infamously say that Lonzo is already better than two-time NBA MVP and NBA champion Stephen Curry. Calling LaVar’s comments premature is an understatement. Ball has yet to play an NBA game and his greatness isn’t guaranteed. However, his set of skills all but ensure he’ll be an all-star, and he believes he can live up to all the hype.
“That’s [expectations] been asked of me for my whole life,” Ball said. “I’m used to it. I’m coming here with a winning attitude.”
Johnson went on to joke with Lonzo, a man of few words, about his upcoming time as a Laker.
“Lonzo, leave me one or two records,” Johnson, the Lakers president of basketball operations, said playfully. “Don’t break all my records.”
So it seems Magic is all in on Ball, even though the organization didn’t let on that he was their first choice until after the draft. Rob Pelinka doubled up on Johnson’s sentiments by comparing Lonzo to a couple of NFL greats.
“The way he passes the ball, you look at quarterbacks like Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers that just have a gift,” Pelinka said. “There’s clearly a gift with what he’s been blessed with. We knew on a basketball standpoint there were no questions.”
These are big shoes to fill for Lonzo, but he seems poised, unfazed by the pressure and like he’s ready to be exactly what Magic called him, the face of the purple and gold.