Earlier this week, the Lakers announced a new partnership with First Entertainment Credit Union, making them the official credit union of the franchise. They held an event in Los Angeles to name Anthony Davis to be the first face of the collaboration. Davis could also soon be the face of another brand, the current team he plays for.
The Lakers are a worldwide brand, which means being a star here hits different. It incorporates not just on but off the court responsibilities. Being the face of the Lakers opens up countless more opportunities than other markets. The past faces of the franchise from Magic Johnson, the late Kobe Bryant, to LeBron James who currently holds that title, all have transcended sports. On the court, Davis isn’t seen in that tier, at least not yet. Although a title this year can help change that.
Following the partnership ceremony, Lakers champions Kurt Rambis, Robert Horry, and Hall of Famer James Worthy held a small Q and A for the media. I was able to ask what makes Anthony Davis a great candidate to be the face of this franchise going forward on and especially off the court.
Horry, immediately asked, “LeBron did too much already?” He was joking, but LeBron is still the face of this team even at 35 years old. He moved from his second stint in Cleveland to Los Angeles in 2018 to not only win but do it with the opportunities in this city, including a movie that should premiere soon.
Even with LeBron looking like he doesn’t age, that torch will be passed at some point. Rambis detailed why Davis is fit to catch it:
He’s a terrific human being. He’s an exceptional young man. He’s articulate. He’s well known, he’s recognized. Like LeBron, he wants to go out and do things. He wants to better the world. He wants to better our society and have this co-branding with the Lakers. He understands all of that. For him to be able to be put in this situation. I think it’s going to be a win-win for him and for any business he gets involved with.
Rambis relating Davis’s actions to LeBron makes sense, as he has taken on the mentorship role this season. The two are nine years apart in age and Davis asked out of New Orleans not just for the better basketball fit, but to also raise his star level. There’s no better way of achieving that than co-branding himself with the Lakers alongside LeBron. This is Davis’s first year in Los Angeles, and he has already secured many sponsorship deals including a Ruffles chips partnership.
Worthy spoke on the importance of understanding the size of the platform guys have today:
You think about LeBron’s story, In a lot of cases what we used to be, is what we are trying to help out. Some of us have been homeless, some of us have come from financial illiteracy. I think when you come from that kind of thing, you can identify with it and you have the platform which is huge now. When we came in, our platform wasn’t as huge as they had, but we did what we could do with Lakers’ youth foundation, our own charities, and whatnot. But the platform is so huge now, that even the 14th guy on the team could have a podcast, and keep things going and it’s just amazing that guys are conscious enough and willing enough to understand the guys that came before them, and willing to partake and be a humanitarian and make the communities they live a better place.
LeBron is one of the high bars for making a change in communities, with all the philanthropic work he does including opening up a school in his hometown. Davis stated that he’s passionate about financial literacy, and is taking steps to make an impact on it within the community. He seems to understand the platform he has and is using it the way a star in Los Angeles would. Davis brought up his brand quite a bit at the event, and Horry spoke on why that’s important:
The keyword that Anthony used a lot was brand. Nobody ever thought about “AD Brand.” He’s speaking like the Rock, right? But these guys know now that their brand carries weight, that’s the main thing: understand your self-worth. And I think these guys are self-conscious of that.
During the event, Davis and the credit union premiered a short film about the partnership. In the video, he’s quoted as saying “This may not be the city that raised me but it’s ours now, and since I’m here, might as well take it all.”
As the potential face of the Lakers brand, he has the chance to.