The LeBron James era in Los Angeles is off to a bumpy start.
A mural of the newly signed Laker appeared in Venice, Calif., five days after the announcement of James’ four-year, $154 million deal, but was quickly vandalized by people supposedly answering an incentive from Twitter.
“I’m offering $300 to anyone who destroys this mural and shares a video,” @BenOsaze said, along with the address of the mural, in a tweet that has since been deleted. Restaurant security cameras caught people in the act early Sunday morning around 1 a.m.
The original portrait of James shows him in a Lakers jersey with “the King of L.A.” written above him. The vandalism — which included phrases, “LeFraud,” “We don’t want you,” “No King” and, in reference to James’ record in the NBA Finals, “3-6” — led to a small but significant change of the original design.
The “of” was removed in hopes to diffuse the animosity aimed at the mural. Muralist Jonas Never, who created the art along with graffiti artist Fernando Valdez, described it as an “offending” word in an Instagram post of his restored work.
“It was a last-minute thing,” the restaurant’s manager told Yahoo Sports of the “of.” “I think they added it when they completed the mural on Friday, and it seemed to create a big controversy. People can’t separate the fact that it was ‘King James’ as a nickname from the ‘LA.’ It was the artist’s decision.”
Some Lakers fans aren’t keen on accepting a new face of the organization after their beloved Kobe Bryant, but maybe if James leads the team to its 17th championship he’ll have a smooth ride for the parade.
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