LeBron James' leap to Los Angeles is about more than just basketball

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Here's something that should shock no one: Los Angeles Lakers tickets skyrocketed following LeBron James' decision to join the team. Several of them make sense for the Lakers and LeBron James.

Now the 3-time National Basketball Association champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist, ranked by Forbes magazine as the 6th-richest athlete in the world with annual income of $85.5 million, is taking his talents to the Los Angeles Lakers. But so, too, were ones James had with those close to him, reports Lee Jenkins of Sports Illustrated. The kid is only 20 years old and is trending toward being an All-Star-caliber player very shortly.

The Knicks and Lakers have mostly been bad (even very bad) over the last five seasons, but now that the Lakers have landed James - who NY has wanted for a long time - the Knicks are the only marquee franchise without a promising future. This is not adversity. Every NBA Finals combination works, and that comes with three classic brands. His high school games were shown on ESPN and often moved to a college gymnasium to meet ticket demands. Leonard played just nine games last season due to injury but was worth approximately 17 wins above a replacement player in 2015-16 and 2016-17. The Mavericks traded up two spots in the draft to get Doncic, who was the third overall pick.

James' agency later broke the news that he was heading to Los Angeles, an iconic franchise that has won 16 National Basketball Association titles but is in the rebuilding process at the moment after a losing record for five consecutive seasons. James might finally be making the move from the Eastern to Western Conference, but people all over the United States had something to say about it. Whether they land Leonard or not, having James in a market like LA is the ultimate recruiting tool to bring other star players aboard.

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Then came another shocker.

Those favoring James grew in numbers during those weeks he willed the Cavaliers to the NBA Finals with a postseason performance for the ages. The Cavs became the first team to rally back from a 3-1 deficit in the Finals, and they did so against a team that won a league-record 73 games in the regular season.

He spent four seasons with the Miami Heat before returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2014.

The futility of a sweep loss to Golden State last month set the stage for James, who could not carry the outmatched Cavaliers to a single victory. He wants to build a contender that lasts and believes the Lakers possess the recruiters, the assets and the salary cap space to do it.