Manny Machado may not have a long stay with the Los Angeles Dodgers. However, the newly-acquired infielder, who will be a free agent after this season, reportedly wants to enjoy some of the advantages L.A. will offer.
He hopes that includes getting to meet some of the L.A. sports icons that came before him. Machado has never kept his admiration for Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant a secret.
In addition to naming his dog “Kobe,” Machado chose to wear No. 8 with the Dodgers partly to honor Bryant.
Additionally, Machado didn’t hide his desire to meet Bryant in the near future as well as the Lakers’ newest superstar, LeBron James, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today:
“I’d love to meet him,” Machado said. “LeBron [James], too. I loved LeBron when he was in Cleveland. Loved him in Miami. And loved him when he went back to Cleveland. Hopefully, when we get to the playoffs, he can come out and cheer for us, just like he did for the Indians.”
Machado might have good fortune on his side in the form of Dodgers co-owner Magic Johnson. Perhaps more commonly known, he’s currently the Lakers’ president of basketball operations.
Given Johnson’s deep ties to L.A.’s two most-iconic sports franchises, it seems likely either he or James, the man he recently recruited to the Lakers, will make an appearance at Dodger stadium before long.
If Machado wants to catch a ceremonial first pitch from James, though, he may have some competition. Kenley Jansen, Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig are all vocal Lakers fans, an Jansen and Puig have playfully argued over who would be James’ catcher in that scenario.
Puig was among the many who welcomed James to L.A. via Twitter after the NBA superstar signed with the Lakers in free agency.
Machado may join Puig, Jansen and other Dodgers in catching some Lakers games later this year. Perhaps Jansen can even introduce Machado to his friend Jeanie Buss.
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