The Los Angeles Dodgers and Toronto Blue Jays began off a rare Interleague series at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday night, but NBA star Kawhi Leonard, who left the Toronto Raptors for the Los Angeles Clippers in free agency earlier this summer, was nowhere to be found.
Instead, the Dodgers celebrated Lakers Night and brought out the team’s new star, Anthony Davis, to throw out the ceremonial first pitch. Davis was acquired in a blockbuster trade with the New Orleans Pelicans in June, joining LeBron James to give the Lakers two superstar forwards.
James has yet to be a part of Lakers Night at Dodger Stadium, though a few Dodgers players were gifted his No. 23 jersey last year.
Among them was Kenley Jansen, a vocal and diehard Lakers fan who also caught Davis’ pitch on Tuesday. Jansen has caught other ceremonial first pitches during Lakers Night and is often seen watching Lakers games at Staples Center during the MLB offseason.
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) August 21, 2019
Lakers franchise icon and former president of basketball operations Magic Johnson provides a natural connection between Los Angeles’ two premier pro sports franchises. Johnson has held a minority stake in the current Dodgers’ ownership group since it bought the team in 2012.
Johnson was initially heavily involved in an attempt to bring Davis to the L.A. before the NBA’s trade deadline in February, only to abruptly quit his post at the top of the Lakers’ front office just before the end of the season in April.
Unsurprisingly, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts named Johnson to his all-time Lakers starting five along with Kobe Bryant, James Worthy, Shaquille O’Neal and Michael Cooper.
“Magic, ‘Big Game’ James, Kobe, Shaq. For me and my era, I’ve got either Byron Scott or Michael Cooper,” Roberts said. “I’m going to go [Cooper]. I love the defense and high socks.”
Roberts also said he is a big Kareem Adbul-Jabbar fan even though he did not include the Hall-of-Fame center on his list.