An investigative look at LeBron James’ birthday greeting for Lonzo Ball

The summer of 2018 promises to be an eventful and highly discussed time period in the basketball world. Several of the biggest stars in the NBA will likely become free agents making way for a potentially crazy offseason that could see the power balance of the league shift one way or another.

Of course, the biggest name that will most likely be on the open market is LeBron James. The Cleveland Cavaliers’ forward, arguably the greatest player in NBA history, has had run-ins with the organization before. Now, with his general manager fired and his point guard traded after a fairly public request, it seems more possible than ever that James would once again leave his hometown franchise for greener pastures.

The Los Angeles Lakers have put themselves in prime position to sign James, or so they hope. The team has talked endlessly about maximizing cap space in 2018 and have shown that desire through their transactions, trading a promising prospect in D’Angelo Russell to get rid of Timofey Mozgov’s albatross of a contract, signing Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to a one-year deal and more.

Whether James actually moves to LA, where he has an offseason home, to join the Purple and Gold who are now led by LeBron’s childhood idol, Magic Johnson, as the President of Basketball Operations, is a tough question to answer. But there has certainly been plenty of proverbial smoke potentially pointing towards the proverbial fire that would be LeBron James joining the Los Angeles Lakers.

And James has not done much to extinguish that fire. Sure, he has made it known that he wants to retire with the Cavaliers, but his desire to finalize his legacy in Cleveland doesn’t account for what he feels he needs to do to reach the pinnacle of Michael Jordan as far as team accomplishments go.

On Friday, James added more to that same fire via an innocuous tweet directed at prized Lakers’ rookie Lonzo Ball.

Sure, on the surface, it’s just a nice gesture from James to a young player trying to find his sea legs in the Association. But if you dig a little deeper, there is so much more to uncover.

I first realized the potential for this coded message after coming across this Reddit commenter finding some inconsistencies between this LeBron message and others he has sent in recent years. Please read the important work outlined here before continuing with this article.

So a recap of this fine work:

James only wishes a happy birthday to his teammates, other members of his agency (Klutch Sports), and a pair of big honchos in Johnson and Barack Obama. Additionally, he’s only used #LiveLaughLove twice including the Lonzo tweet, with the other just being a general motivational tweet because he’s a nice dude.

But being the hard worker and perfectionist that I am, I wanted to look even deeper into this cryptic tweet. Surely a smart player like LeBron, whose every decision is premeditated and planned to an extreme, would not leave his coded message so easy to extract.

So let’s dive deeper.

And then dive a litter deeper than that.

So deep.

First, a look at another phrase in LeBron’s tweet. The King calls Lonzo a “Young [crown emoji]King” a phrase he has previously only used to refer to Eric Bledsoe (another Klutch client), Odell Beckham Jr. (not a basketball player), and LeBron’s son (another future Laker). More importantly, Lonzo was the only person in this club to also receive the honorable crown emoji. Not even LeBron Jr. was deserving of that honor.

Next, consider LeBron’s infamous hashtag #StriveForGreatness, something he has dropped across social media for some time now. The hashtag itself may not be much more than a motivational tool for James…or so we think.

Notice the emoji of a rocket attached to it. The Rockets are widely viewed as one of the suitors for LeBron in the summer boasting a duo of James Harden and Banana-Boat member Chris Paul as a building block for James. Is LeBron telling the Rockets to strive for greatness if they hope to lure him away from the Lakers? Perhaps. Perhaps not. But mostly perhaps.

Let’s revisit the #LiveLaughLove hashtag once again for some unfinished business. Alliteration is great and all but no one cares about it if it’s not used to send out an additional message. In this case, the three L’s may be paying homage to the three B’s that make up the Ball family’s Big Baller Brand. Once again, LeBron is hinting at a deep connection with Lonzo and perhaps a partnership with BBB. LeBron wearing the ZO2? So many flame emojis.

But the three L’s could signify even more than that. Let’s look at a few possibilities for what LLL could stand for besides the gross disguise of living, laughing, and loving.

LeBron Leaves (for) Lakers
LeBron Leaves (to go to the) Lakers
LeBron Loves Leaving (Cleveland)
LeBron Loves Lakers
LeBron Laughs (while) Leaving (Cleveland)
LOL LeBron Left (Again)
Live Laugh Leave
Leave Laugh Love
Live Leave Love

Pretty damning evidence, right?

Now, for a little numerology, arguably the most important part of this investigation. Observe the time and date stamp of LeBron’s tweet. 7:35 AM on October 27, 2017.

Let’s look into this just a little more.

7:35 10/27/2017

Add the attached numbers:

7:8 1/9/10

We all know that seven ate nine:

7:8 1/10

Let’s flip these around to represent what would happen to the Lakers’ and Cavs’ respective records if this move were to be completed.

8:7 10/1

10 divided by 1 is just 10. That’s what I learned in college. Eat it, LeBron.

8:7 10

Now let’s add these together to signify LeBron’s addition to the Lakers.

8 + 7 + 10 = 25

Well, that doesn’t mean anything to m- wait a minute.

Lonzo Ball wears number 2. LeBron James wears number 23.

Two. Twenty-three. Two plus twenty-three. That’s 25!

This is resounding evidence already. But now for the coup-de-grace from friend of the program and ace detective Masta Red Snappa:

There you have it, folks. This is irrefutable evidence.

LeBron James. #FutureLaker. Confirmed.

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