Any story right now that includes “LeBron James” and “Lakers” in it produces the click-bait you’d expect. Especially when they resort to picking out all the billboards around L.A. that seem to believe they can talk something into existence. The NBA’s free-agent period opens Saturday at 9 p.m., which is when Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka are on the clock.
James’ latest “decision” is expected come via his own media platform, Uninterrupted, after he did so via an ESPN TV special (2010) and then a Sports Illustrated story (2014). ESPN’s Brian Windhorst believes this announcement will come before July 4; others insist it will be July 6. Read it and weep.
The Dodgers (43-35, 2 ½ games out of the NL West lead) have banked a 25-11 record since Justin Turner has come off the disabled list on May 15, and a four-game series at home against the Chicago Cubs (42-33, 2 games behind Milwaukee in the NL Central, without Yu Darvish) before facing Colorado on the weekend. But what’s drawing more interest is a Saturday game (4:15 p.m., Channel 11) against the Rockies where a “Puigy Bank” giveaway pays homage to those old-style metal banks where characters sprang into action to deposit coins into its save keeping box. Have kids today ever seen a coin?
Thursday marks the end of the World Cup group play – England has a matchup against Belgium (11 a.m.) to highlight the last of it, with Germany-South Korea on Wednesday (7 a.m.) head-to-head with Mexico-Sweden also holding great interest – before the Round of 16 starts on Saturday (Group C winner vs. Group D runner-up at 7 a.m. and Uruguay vs. Portugal, 11 a.m.) and Sunday (Spain vs. Russia, 7 a.m., and Group D winner vs. Group C runner-up, 11 a.m.). Says Fox analyst Alexi Lalas about those first two Round of 16 games: “There is a difference between playing Russia and playing Uruguay. We saw what Uruguay did to Russia. If you’re Spain, you’re thinking: ‘Alright, we got the good one.’ It’s not that it’s going to be easy to walk over them, but Portugal, right now, is not a perfect team. They understand that and they’re going to come up against it and because of a goal here or there, it completely changed everything. When it comes to this Portuguese team, we saw someone step up in that moment to score that goal, and that’s all fine and good.”
If the World Cup doesn’t seem to hold your interest, or you’ve been anxious to see some real games in person, the Galaxy revives its schedule MLS schedule after 15 days off and faces San Jose at Stanford (Saturday, 7 p.m., UniMas) just a couple hours after the LAFC plays host to Philadelphia (Saturday, 5 p.m.).
“Uncle Drew,” which started out as a series of digital shows for a soft drink, has been turned into a movie that comes out Thursday night, not to be confused with L.A.’s Drew League, but more about the Rucker Classic street ball tournament. Kyrie Irving (Uncle Drew) is the star, with Shaquille O’Neal (Big Fella), Chris Webber (Preacher), Reggie Miller (Lights), Nate Robinson (Boost) and Lisa Leslie (Betty Lou) who play his septuagenarian teammates. The reviews so far are so-so, understanding what it’s mean to be – a fun, summer theatre escape from the heat – without making fun of old people.