The Los Angeles Lakers returned for media day Monday, before training camp and the preseason begins this week. At media day, LeBron James surprisingly called teammate Anthony Davis the “face of the franchise.”
James said, “He is the face [of the franchise]… You look at all these [retired] numbers that surround this facility, all the greats that have come here and AD is one of them,” via Dave McMenamin of ESPN.
However, Stephen A. Smith could not have disagreed more with LeBron's take.
Smith said, “If [LeBron James is] the face of the league worldwide, meaning globally, how the hell is his teammate [Anthony Davis] the face of the Lakers? That makes no sense, there's no logic to it whatsoever, but I understand what LeBron is doing. We know what [Davis] can do … When AD brings his A game, you can't find me 7 players in the NBA better than AD,” via ESPN First Take.
"If [LeBron James is] the face of the league worldwide, meaning globally, how the hell is [Anthony Davis] the face of the Lakers? … When AD brings his A game, you can't find me 7 players in the NBA better than AD."
– Stephen A. Smith
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPoints) October 3, 2023
Though the comments come across as a compliment to Davis, it's unlikely that many fans think of Davis before LeBron on the Lakers. Not only is LeBron James arguably the GOAT, but he has also played for Los Angeles longer. The 4x NBA MVP played for the Cleveland Cavaliers and Miami Heat before joining the Lakers in 2018.
Meanwhile, Davis didn't join the Lakers until a year later in 2019 when he requested a trade and LeBron pleaded for the Lakers to acquire him. Prior to the Lakers, Davis played for the Pelicans for seven years.
Anthony Davis may not be the face of the Lakers, but he is likely best-known after LeBron. Since joining the Lakers, Davis has helped lead Los Angeles to a NBA championship in 2020 and multiple playoff appearances.