He’s imposed his will on the National Basketball Association for 14 years.
He brought a pair of NBA championships to Miami.
Then he went home to Cleveland and turned it into Believe-land with the 2016 NBA title.
So when LeBron James announced he was joining the Lakers, there was good reason for rejoicing.
Surely the man who had not missed the playoffs since 2005 and had played in the last eight NBA Finals would put an end to the Lakers’ five-year wandering in irrelevance.
Laker fans kept reassuring themselves of that.
And they stopped calling me Shirley.
But all The King’s horses and the all the King’s men couldn’t put the broken pieces back together again.
After a baffling Saturday night when the Lakers found a way to lose to one of the worst teams in modern NBA history, the Phoenix Sunsets, they officially pulled the plug on their playoff hopes’ life support systems in Monday night’s 113-105 Hallway Series pratfall against the Clippers.
Brandon Ingram came up with a bum shoulder before the game.
Kyle Kuzma ended the game with an ankle injury.
The King will finally have a summer to himself.
Most of the spring, too.
And the Lakers will slip deeper into the darkness of the post-Kobe Bryant Era.
It wasn’t supposed to be like this.
Paul George was supposed to come home and join LeBron, and lead a payback tour for all the indignities since 2013.
Laker mystique would make a comeback from wherever it was exiled to in the reign of error of Jim Buss.
The sad but inescapable truth is, Laker mystique now wears Clippers red white and blue.
After setting up the Golden State Warriors dynasty, Jerry West wanted to come home.
The Warriors, and before them, the Memphis Grizzlies, were business.
The Lakers were personal. Always would be.
Jerry West is such an eternal Laker, he felt the pain of the past five years of wandering in the NBA wilderness.
The man who gift-wrapped Pau Gasol to the Lakers to trigger their last three NBA Finals appearances and two NBA titles wanted to come home and make things right.
The Lakers said no thanks.
Among the stupid moves in Lakers history — which have been piling up since the Time Warner Cable betrayal — this was the stupidest of all.
West, one of the keenest basketball minds of all time, simply walked down the hall to the Clippers.
Monday’s victory put them seven games above the Lakers.
One dumb move after another, one blown lottery pick after another, one season in which they couldn’t get out of their own way after another — this used to be the Clippers’ business plan.
But these aren’t your father’s Clippers.
And they’re sure as heck not your father’s Lakers.