Wed. Oct 17th, 2018

How Does LeBron Affect Coverage of the Lakers in LA?

A lot has been written about LeBron James signing with the Los Angeles Lakers. Today, Bryan Curtis of The Ringer is covering LeBron’s move to LA from the perspective of those covering LeBron’s move to LA.

Curtis spoke with reporters and sports writers all over the city to better understand how LeBron James will affect the coverage the Lakers receive. Among those that spoke to Curtis are Dave McMenamin of ESPN and Alli Clifton of SportsNet LA. Both relocated to LA when LeBron decided to leave Cleveland. For McMenamin it was a reassignment within ESPN. For Clifton, it was leaving a job in Cleveland for a new one on the West Coast.

The Athletic: Los Angeles and the LA Times are both investing in Lakers coverage. The Athletic will have four writers covering the Lakers alone. The Times will have as many as four reporters at each Laker game as well. It is a major change from the way the team has been covered recently according to Curtis’ column. “Tania Ganguli, the Times beat writer, said there were weekends when the print press corps consisted of her and two other beat writers.”

None of that takes into account the reporters that are there specifically to cover LeBron James. The Hollywood Reporter, Vanity Fair, and various entertainment news magazines have applied for credentials this season as well. They will be covering LeBron not only as a cultural phenomenon, but also as a new power player in the media and entertainment worlds.

One of the most interesting parts of the column is the reaction to LeBron from some of the more tenured members of the Los Angeles sports media. Petros Papadakis, for instance, wants to make sure he and his colleagues don’t lose sight of the fact that it is okay to criticize LeBron. “You’re going to have people who cover this with a sycophantish tone and people that won’t. I don’t want to be in the group of the former.”

Bill Plaschke is a little more defiant. His attitude seems to be one of “you haven’t done anything until you’ve done something in LA,” which opens up a whole new debate about the LA sports media. Who is making who relevant here? He told Curtis, “I thought the most revealing thing that happened was when he was asked, ‘What does he have to do to earn the respect of L.A.?’ and he said, ‘Yeah, I’m here.’ That doesn’t work here, especially with the Lakers.”

The whole piece is a long read, but it is insanely interesting. Check it out at The Ringer.