“The King Of LA” Lebron James Mural Got Defaced

The season hasn’t started yet, and LeBron James’ transition in Los Angeles hasn’t gotten off to the smoothest start. Since agreeing to a contract with the Lakers, a mural celebrating his new spot on the team was vandalized.

The LeBron James era in Los Angeles hasn’t gotten off to the smoothest of starts. Since the former Cavaliers star shook the NBA by agreeing to join the Lakers, his new team has made some head-scratching free agency moves, and more recently, a mural celebrating his arrival in Tinseltown was defaced at the possible behest of a disgruntled Lakers fan.

Muralist Jonas Never and graffiti artist Fernando Valdez had combined to create the piece, which showed James in a Lakers jersey and referred to his nickname in declaring him “The King of L.A.” It was finished Friday, five days after the announcement that James was switching teams, and is located outside of a barbecue restaurant in Venice, Calif.

Later that day, though, a Twitter user with the handle “Lakers Fanbase” offered $300 “to anyone who destroys this mural.” By coincidence or not, the restaurant’s security cameras caught people vandalizing the work (per Yahoo Sports) early Sunday morning, including scrawling the phrases, “LeFraud,” “We don’t want you,” “No King” and, in a reference to James’s record in the NBA Finals, “3-6.”

By Sunday afternoon, the mural was restored — with one small, but meaningful, exception. The “of” was removed, with Never describing it as an “offending” word.

“It was a last-minute thing,” the restaurant’s manager said of the “of” to Yahoo Sports. “I think they added it when they completed the mural on Friday, and it seemed to create a big controversy.”

The phrase, “The King of LA,” may well have annoyed some Lakers fans who revere Kobe Bryant as not only the greatest player in franchise history but a rival to Michael Jordan as the greatest NBA player, period. James, widely considered the closest contender to usurp Jordan’s all-time status, was publicly welcomed to the Lakers by Bryant, but the Twitter user who offered the $300 bounty — and has since taken down his account — reportedly declared that James should be featured in “no murals until he wins a title” in Los Angeles.

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