The Los Angeles Lakers have been eliminated from the playoffs long ago, but their season still came to a dramatic end on Tuesday night. Just before their final game against the Portland Trail Blazers, Lakers president Magic Johnson requested an unscheduled press conference where he abruptly announced he was stepping down as Lakers President of Basketball Operations.
The Lakers aren’t new to the drama, especially this season. Just recently reports came out that Johnson and head coach Luke Walton reportedly haven’t spoken in weeks. Still, Johnson stepping down came out of nowhere. So much so that he said during the press conference that he hadn’t yet informed owner Jeanie Buss or general manager Rob Pelinka of his decision.
Understandably, social media went wild with the news.
And these are only some of the initial reactions. If Johnson’s 45-minute press conference is any indication, things are only going to get more ridiculous in LakerLand this summer.
“Show me a hero, and I’ll write you a tragedy” —F. Scott Fitzgerald, 1945
The city of Los Angeles, along with fans worldwide, collectively woke up with the heaviest of hearts on April 1, following the tragic murder of Nipsey Hussle. I was only four years old when Tupac Shakur was killed, but this is how I imagine my city felt in ‘96. Massive murals have been painted. Countless tributes and stories from L.A. natives—from all walks of life—have poured in. With the volume up and the windows down, cars are pulling up next to me in traffic, blasting the music of the man called Neighborhood Nip.
Michel Moore, the Chief of the Los Angeles Police Department, said in a press conference following his death that “[he] saw the name Nipsey Hussle, and [he] looked at that again, and [he] looked at it again, and it was like [he] could not believe it.” Steve Soboroff, President of the Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners, revealed Nipsey and Roc Nation had a meeting scheduled for that Monday morning to discuss ways to combat gang violence in South Central Los Angeles.
Despite how hard I’ve tried, I can’t shake the sickening feeling that every detail of Nipsey’s murder played out like a fucking movie script:
Nipsey rushing to his The Marathon Clothing store without informing his team or bodyguard because he wanted to hook up a friend who had just been released from a 20-year prison term “with some new gear so he could look good before meeting up with his own family and friends later in the day.”
His final tweet—inspired by an impromptu sit-down with a high-ranking member from a rival gang—sent just a half-hour before he was shot six times by a member of his own: “Having strong enemies is a blessing.”
“You’re dealing with the pressures of trying to be successful as well as the pressure of people intentionally waking up to try to bring harm your way. […] A person that know me and come from the same environment and had the same cards dealt to them that keep going to jail, don’t have no money, never made they parents proud or they momma proud, never did anything that they could look in the mirror and be proud of, it make them feel a certain way, and it’s intense. And that shit manifest into jealousy, hate, violence.” —Nipsey Hussle, 730.no Interview
Nipsey Hussle, born Ermias Asghedom, had an undying love for his city, and he paid for that love with his life. It’s painfully surreal to witness a seemingly inextinguishable light eclipsed by a dark, shapeless void because he deserved better—as a man, a father, a son, a brother, a partner, and a hometown hero. Yet, over the past seven days, I’ve found solace in the one constant throughout his 33 years on this Earth: Nipsey operated without fear.
“Nip is sporadic. Nip gonna pull up and hop up out of the Jordan Downs projects, Nickerson Gardens, in any ‘hood in L.A., Compton, Watts—solo with $150,000 of jewelry on his neck and [an] $80,000 Rolex with no security. That’s why the people loved him,” Blacc Sam told the Los Angeles Times.
This was the same Nipsey Hussle, who, despite being the face of one of the biggest and most dangerous gangs in Los Angeles, invested millions into the same block where he survived countless fights, raids, arrests, and shootouts; the same Nipsey Hussle who chose to walk amongst his people on ground zero as a physical manifestation of hope and change.
As Nipsey’s early South Central snarl evolved into the poise of a veteran and community leader, his fortitude remained steadfast. You heard the conviction in his raspy voice, and you saw the fearlessness behind his bloodshot, steely gaze; Nipsey Hussle carried himself with an empowering sense of agency.
When Nipsey spoke (or rapped) he projected ethereal energy into the world; like his spirit was immortal and death was never a possibility—and that’s the silver lining. Even in the wake of his tragic murder, Nipsey’s mission was bigger than himself. The rose that grew from concrete planted its seeds and when your legacy has been cemented, mortality is irrelevant.
“We look at life like it’s about what you can get from life. You gon’ always be unfulfilled if you look at life like that. It’s about knowing you gon’ leave one day. And, you know, when you leave, the only way you gon’ be fulfilled is if you know you gave everything you had, and you emptied yourself here. And you left it all here, ‘cause it’s temporary and you got a moment.” —Nipsey Hussle, HOT 97 Interview
Nipsey Hussle was running his own marathon, at his own pace, never forgetting to circleback to the streets that made him. He moved with graceful militance, his resolve never wavered, and he never shied away from sharing his ever-expansive breadth of knowledge and wisdom with the rest of the world. Now, it’s up to us. As the man himself once said, “the highest human act is to inspire.”
The outpouring of love for Nipsey Hussle is also coming from the Los Angeles City Council where a lawmaker wants an intersection named in honor of the slain rapper.
Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson, a friend of Hussle’s, is expected to introduce legislation on Friday to rename the intersection of Slauson Avenue and Crenshaw Boulevard as “Ermias `Nipsey Hussle’ Asghedom Square,” Fox5 reported.
Fans worldwide continue to mourn 33-year-old Hussle, who died outside his Los Angeles clothing store March 31 from gunshot wounds. Many hold Hussle in high esteem for his activism and community service.
Harris-Dawson has said he first met the rapper in 2013 at a rally against gun violence.
“It was 8 in the morning at Crenshaw High School. And here was this guy who I knew had a show the night before. He was there with his daughter,” the lawmaker told the New York Times, praising Hussle for his tireless work ethic.
Meanwhile, tickets quickly sold out on Tuesday morning for a public memorial honoring Hussle. Fans started snapping up the complimentary seats as soon as they became available online. The memorial is set for Thursday morning at Los Angeles’ Staples Center, which has a seating capacity of 21,000.
Eric Holder, 29, the man accused of killing Hussle, was arrested last week and charged with one count of murder, two counts of attempted murder and one count of possession of a firearm by a felon, according to a press release from the Los Angeles County’s District Attorney’s Office. Holder entered a plea of not guilty in court.
There have been unconfirmed reports that Hussle was killed because he was trying to stop gang violence in Los Angeles. However, CNN.com reported the shooting was a personal dispute and while Los Angeles police Chief Michel Moore“declined to elaborate on the feud between the two, saying he didn’t want to jeopardize any potential prosecution, but he said the suspect approached Nipsey and others multiple times, engaging them in conversation.” Moore also said the dispute does not appear gang-related.
While Hussle was associated with gangs, he appeared to be distancing himself from that life. Shortly before his death, he was talking with Steve Soboroff, president of the Los Angeles Police Commission, about how to prevent youth from getting involved in gangs.
The City Council is expected to adjourn its regular Friday meeting in honor of Hussle. At that same meeting, Harris-Dawson is also expected to introduce the motion to rename the intersection.
In the wake of the tragic loss of Ermias “Nipsey Hussle” Asghedom, Rival Los Angeles gangs from Watts, Compton, Inglewood, and Los Angeles met Thursday and Friday afternoon to honor the slain rapper with a call for peace in the streets. Together they marched from a local Crenshaw grocery store to Hussle’s Marathon clothing store where the rapper died March 31st. Authorities believe the shooting took place following a personal dispute between Hussle, and his alleged killer Eric Holder.
According to Blavity, Veteran gang leaders played a major role in coordinating the peace talks among usual enemies. They shared their progress on social media.
The community march is meant to be the start of a larger effort for prolonged peace. TMZ reports there have not been this many gangs united for peace since 1992 — the same year the Los Angeles riots were sparked by police brutality against Rodney King.
Memorials, vigils, murals, and other dedications have been springing up around Los Angeles to pay homage to Hussle’s wide-spread community impact which included a STEM program for local youth, and building affordable housing units.
Plans for Hussle’s official memorial service are underway.
The diagnosis ends a breakout year for Ingram and is another blow to the Lakers’ slim chances of making the playoffs. It could either be a serious condition that potentially puts his playing career in jeopardy, or a one-time incident that he’ll recover from before taking the court again next season.
Ingram was averaging 18 points, five rebounds and three assists per game. He became a reliable scorer and playmaker for the lakers this season. But basketball is only a game; life is not. Ingram will have to step away while he handles this condition.
What is deep venous thrombosis?
DVT is a condition caused by blood clots and usually occurs in the leg. If unaddressed, DVT can become a pulmonary embolism, or a blood clot that becomes fatal after it blocks an artery in the lungs.
Ingram had missed the Lakers last two games with a sore shoulder.
It’s awful. Ingram is Los Angeles’ second-best player, and they have already been without Lonzo Ball, who also may not play again this season due to an ankle injury. The team is 15-8 when Ball, Ingram and LeBron James are each healthy. They are 15-27 when one of them have been hurt.
The Lakers are also 6.5 games behind the San Antonio Spurs for the eighth and final spot in the playoffs. There are 17 games left on the schedule. Anything is possible, but post season basketball looks more and more unlikely for the Lakers by the day.