Just a couple of hours before the NBA's regular-season tip-off. New Balance released an evil commercial featuring Kawhi Leonard that clearly took a shot at LeBron James.
Kawhi was deemed the new owner of Los Angeles and he even had a keychain with a crown on it, so everybody was eager to see how Nike and LeBron were going to respond to this not-so-subtle jab.
However, the Lakers were outplayed by the Clippers on opening night, and Kawhi Leonard was vastly superior to LeBron James in every single aspect of the game.
So, following the Lakers' triumph vs. the Utah Jazz, ESPN's Stephen A. Smith was livid at LeBron James, claiming he could've done what he did against Donovan Mitchell when he played Kawhi on Tuesday:
"I watched the New Balance commercial about five times last night because they kept playing it. The brother had a key to the ignition of his car with a crown on it. The key to the ignition had a crown on it. It said 'I'm coming'. It was clearly a shot at LeBron. Maybe it wasn't Kawhi, maybe it was New Balance.
I've covered the NBA for 25 years and I've never seen somebody get trolled and act like it didn't happen. It happened! Nobody's questioning LeBron's greatness, but we came Tuesday night and we were hyped about the Lakers-Clippers because we were hyped about LeBron and Kawhi, and one dude said 'Hey, I'm here', and the other dude said 'Ah, it's not that important'," Smith said on First Take.
LeBron and the Lakers were kind of disappointing during their first outing of the season, with the King logging 'just' 18 points, 10 rebounds, and 8 assists in 36 minutes.
Smith is right with the fact that we were all expecting LeBron to have one of those legendary performances and make a statement by controlling all aspects of the game and letting everybody know that this is his house, but it looks like there's a new King in town, at least for now.