A Night With Lakers
At Nick and Stef’s Steakhouse, a mile and half uptown of Staples Center, the Laker’s roster drops the purple and gold jerseys in lieu of slacks and button-downs for a player’s dinner. Ushered to the restaurants terrace, the teammates sit down for some dining, some drinks, and plenty of discussion.
Lonzo Ball: Wild game Kuz, you bodied Millsap, looked like when I play Lamelo one-on-one! 😂 😂 😂
Andrew Bogut: Reminded me of how when I was a young bloke my father took me hunting and those roo’s went down boomerang after boomerang. He even let me take one in a scrap; dad with the throwing stick ready to fire of course.
Kyle Kuzma: Means a lot guys, just been hoping I can get in the rotation. Walton’s been hammering the praise, might even work my way to a starting spot.
Julius Randle sits quietly, head tilted down, hands tremoring slightly as he slices into his ribeye. He lifts his head up.
Julius Randle: Been in great shape lately, I’m ready any time for those outlets Zo if you need a big to run the court. New workout helped me pull that double-double too.
Kentavious Caldwell Pope: You a real threat from three Kuz. Team needs some spacing to help open up the lanes, let me and Jordan cut through for easy buckets.
Julius Randle tilts his head back down to the half-eaten ribeye and weakly puts his fork and knife down. Zubac follows suit.
Brook Lopez: You know this place really has a good sirloin. I’m hoping to be coming back here for a long time.
KCP: I feel that, never know where you gonna be headed in this league though. Never thought Detroit would let me go until Celts threw them Bradley. Money makes shit happen.
BL: I mean the league loves bigs who can shoot, if I put up another good season I could be a key asset.
KCP: Yeah but what if Lebron really is trynna link up with us, just about nobody gonna be safe then. Dude’s the only untouchable player ‘cross the whole league.
KK: Yo even Lonzo might get traded if that happ-
Deep, heavy grunts begin to come from underneath the terrace’s edge. The sound of foliage rustling accompanies the grunts as the animal heads up to the terrace floor. Slowly two hands work to pull up a man onto the deck. A six foot six man with the build of a former NFL practice team player and the demeanor of Michael Jordan’s dominatrix appears before the squad. Lonzo continues eating.
Lavar Ball: LISTEN NOW. JUST ABOUT ANY ONE OF YOU CAN BE TRADED!! ANY ONE OF YOU! YA’LL GOT NO GAME. I COULD TAKE YOU ONE ON 15 WHILE BLEEDING OUT, WITH BULLETS IN BOTH MY LEGS. YA’LL ALL EXPENDABLE!!
Lavar panting, hands on knees, take a brief moment to catch his breath.
Lavar Ball: NOW LET ME TELL YOU WHO NOBODY IS TOUCHING. LONZO. ZO IS A ONCE IN A LIFETIME, HALL-OF-FAME-GUARANTEED TALENT. IT’S NOT EVEN A QUESTION. EASIER QUESTION THAN ME TAKING MJ IN HIS PRIME. IT’S A FACT. LONZO IS THE NEW SHOWTIME! I KNOW IT!! HE KNOWS IT!!! EVEN MAGIC KNOWS IT! MAGIC MADE SHOWTIME. I SAID IT. MAGIC SAID IT. IT’S DONE AND YOU BETTER NEVER LET ME HEAR YOU SAY NOTHING GAINST ZO UNLESs YOU TRYNA BE SHIPPED OUT TO BROOKLYN.
Lavar jumps over the edge of the railing and begins to slide down the restaurants decorational vines until all is quiet. The Lakers roster is stunned. Lonzo continues eating.
KK: Uh… Never knew your dad was that into… That shit was pretty weird.
LB: Guess so, just pops, you know how it is.
KK: Yeah I guess… So, uh, how we feelin ‘bout for our first game?
KCP: Ya know… uh, think it should be… uh, pretty good.
JR: Should be good… it’s the Clippers, right…
AB: Yeah we better watch Beverley. Guy’s a solid player all around.
KCP: Gotta watch the pick and roll game too.
LB: Griffin seems like he could be tough.
AB: The mans an animal, he really knows how to play the pick and roll, finishes strong. He’s been adding a jumper too.
KK: Dude seems really good. Can’t say I’ve ever seen another white dude make 30 mill playing ball.
LB: Bruh, Blake is mixed. Ya’ll hella ignorant.
JR: Probably making even more than Zo’s little bro with those jumps he got coming out.
KCP: Yo what’s up with that, I heard he ain’t going to college. Isn’t he outta school too?
KK: Yo don’t say that kind o-
Glass shards fall from the main room, drawing the Lakers’ attention. The sound of metallic blades chopping through the air is heard in the air nearby. In the midst of the chaos the seemingly departed Lavar Ball and his frizzy-haired son repel down to floor level.
Lavar Ball: I KNOW WHAT’S BEST FOR MY SON. WE BIG BALLERS. WE’RE CHANGING THE WORLD. CHINO HILLS NEVER TAUGHT SHIT BOUT BASKETBALL TO LAMELO. Y’ALL GOT IT CONFUSED. LAMELO WAS TEACHING CHINO HILLS BASKETBALL. AND YOU KNOW I WAS TEACHING LAMELO. WITHOUT ME THERE IS NO CHINO HILLS. LAMELO WILL BE EVEN BETTER THAN LONZO.
LaMelo stands arm crossed, nodding his head up and down slowly.
Lavar Ball: LIANGELO GETTING A SNEAKER NEXT. BIG BALLERS NEVER STOP. WE DON’T KNOW HOW TO STOP. I NEVER EVEN KNEW WHAT “STOP” MEANT UNTIL I WAS 30. AND NOW THAT I DO KNOW, I KNOW I SURE AS HELL DON’T EVER DO IT.
Lavar gives the rope a strong tug. The big ballers ascend.
LB: Yo good dinner, Im leaving some money for the check. See ya.
Lonzo exits. The remaining Lakers eat in silence for thirty minutes and then depart.