In November 2019, a Los Angeles Lakers team spokesman joked that “our new free agent” has set foot in the facility. To everyone’s surprise, it was world-famous stand-up comedian Dave Chappelle.
Dave did his thing
At the time, Chappelle was invited by Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka to be the team’s special guest in his “Genius Talks” series. As expected, the comedian did his thing and delighted the players with what he does best.
Chappelle chatted with the Lakers players and surely, cracked a couple of jokes too. Then-Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma said that Dave “tried to be serious,” but the comedian in him still prevailed. However, Kuz also appreciated Chappelle’s remarkable optimism in life.
“I think [he] may have tried to be serious, but he ended up just kind of being funny because that’s who he is,” Kuzma said of Chappelle via ESPN. “Just telling us what he thought about life and how to be happy.”
On the other hand, then-Lakers head coach Frank Vogel reckoned that it’s “neat and great” for the team to pause and enjoy the company of the best stand-up comedian of all time.
“That guy’s incredible. He really is,” Vogel said of Chappelle. “He’s the best of all time at stand-up comedy and his parts in acting and everything… It’s definitely cool to see somebody you admire and have been entertained by. It’s neat and great for all of us -- coaches, players, something we really enjoy.”
LeBron was right about Dave
For those who didn’t know, LeBron James and Chappelle are pals. In fact, James once hit the stage during a Chappelle comedy event “King James” himself organized for his teammates when he was still with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Some of LeBron’s NBA peers witnessed it, including Danny Green, who was also playing for the “Purple and Gold” when Chappelle visited the Lakers facility.
According to Green, James was right when he said Chappelle isn’t your typical comedian.
“LeBron made a good point that not only is [Chappelle] funny and makes people laugh, but he informs you a lot of what’s going on in the world,” Green said. “His life experiences have made him or changed him, and it helps us grow as people. African Americans have been in his position before. So he sees a lot of us in himself and passed on some really good knowledge today, some things to take home with us to think about.”
The Lakers have made a couple of changes in the squad and front office this past offseason. However, the goal remains the same – to win a championship. And it wouldn’t be a surprise if Pelinka decides his team needs another uplifting encounter with Chappelle.