In an extremely public move today, the Los Angeles Lakers erected multiple billboards around Los Angeles in an attempt to show their appreciation for free-agent-to-be, Dwight Howard.
Free agency doesn’t officially begin until July 1st, yet the Lakers didn’t want to waste any time in trying to convince Howard to re-sign with them.
The official Lakers Twitter account posted a couple of photos of the billboards: one on the side of the Lakers’ home stadium, the Staples Center, and one in Hollywood Boulevard:
The move sparked mixed reactions from Laker fans, with some saying that their team should never have to “beg” for a player to sign with them.
The Lakers’ longtime spokesman, John Black, spoke to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin to give the Lakers’ side of the story. He told McMenamin that the billboard campaign was a “company-wide initiative” with both the business and basketball operations agreeing on the idea:
[pullquote]”We knew that there would be a wide range of opinions,” Black said. “Our opinion, which we’ve made clear, is that our top priority is signing Dwight. We want to let him know how important he is to us out in the public. We’re comfortable letting the public know how we feel.”[/pullquote]
Black was smart to reveal that the campaign was signed off by both the business side (Jeanie Buss) and the basketball side (Jim Buss) which should help defuse any “rift in the organization” theories.
The billboards will appear in “six or seven key locations” around Los Angeles, according to Black, as well as appearing as a full-page ad in the Los Angeles Times.
Image via Lakers Colombia