Numerous athletes have turned to rapper Eminem for their pregame routines — like Naomi Osaka, who recently defeated Serena Williams at the U.S. Open Women’s Finals — and the same goes for superfan LeBron James.
James has not hidden his love of Eminem’s new record, Kamikaze, and has routinely shared videos of himself rapping to songs from the album on his Instagram Story. So when the Los Angeles Lakers took to their practice facility in El Segundo on Wednesday, ahead of the start of the NBA’s regular season on October 16, James took over the team’s music playlist to get his fill of the “Killshot” rapper (who is in the midst of a feud with Machine Gun Kelly).
“Today’s white boys Wednesdays,” James told reporters. “Seriously. You’re laughing, but today’s white boys Wednesdays, so only white boy music day, which I enjoy.”
But the music selection wasn’t just limited to Eminem, James said.
“I love Eminem, but it wasn’t just Eminem. We had a lot of good music today,” he said, before mentioning Luke Walton and Mark Madsen, two white members on the team’s staff. “[It was for] Luke and Mad Max, all those guys. It was a good day!”
After reporters laughed at the concept of the team dedicating a day to white musicians, James played it down as just another typical day.
“It’s a universal thing, right?” he asked reporters, according to USA Today. “It’s just like taco Tuesdays. It’s a [expletive] thing. You guys look at me crazy when I said it, like, ‘Oh, [expletive], white boys Wednesdays.’ “
The music-themed practice session seems to be the team’s attempt to create chemistry with each other, just three months after James, a former Cleveland Cavaliers player, joined the team, along with a slew of other new members.
“We had fun yesterday, too,’’ James said. “That’s what work’s all about. If you’re not having fun doing what you do, then you got the wrong profession.’’
James and the new-look Lakers are hoping to put up a fight against the Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors, the team that has repeatedly triumphed over the Cavaliers during the four consecutive times that met in the NBA Finals (the Cavs won a single time in 2016).
But James has been working to temper expectations, as many players on the team are young and haven’t even reached the NBA Playoffs, let alone the championship round. This has led 33-year-old James to take on a mentor role with his new Laker teammates.
“I got to bring in the approach I get from home,” James said on Tuesday, according to ESPN.
“When you have three kids, you have to be patient. I’m not calling these guys kids; they’re young men here, and some of these men have families as well. But you learn that you have to be patient and you have to gauge everyone individually very different to get the most out of them.”
James will make his debut with the Lakers against the Portland Trailblazers on October 18.