Were The Los Angeles Lakers Secretly Practicing On A Staples Center Replica Court?

By on July 6, 2020 in ArticlesSports News

With the NBA season on hold, players have been finding their own ways to stay in shape. As the league gets closer to resuming on July 30, some players are taking action into their own hands. Of course, holding practices over the past few months would have been against NBA protocol, so no players are posting on social media if they are, in fact, practicing. Still, it's fun to theorize who might be doing it.

Among those players may be LeBron James and some of his Los Angeles Lakers teammates. On a recent episode of The Bill Simmons Podcast, Simmons and New Orleans Pelicans guard J.J. Redick talked about the Lakers potentially practicing at "some rich guys' house in Bel Air."

That house belongs to Steven Jackson, the CEO of footwear manufacturer ACI International. Jackson is not only a prolific businessman, he's a huge Lakers fan, too. So much so that he's built a replica version of the Staples Center in his backyard.

This isn't just a nice court – Jackson went all out in designing the replica. It's decorated with Lakers championship banners on one baseline wall and game jerseys on the other baseline wall. The home also includes locker rooms, weight rooms, steam rooms, a tennis court, movie theater, bowling alley, and game room.

Just for good measure, Jackson owns the home next door, too. The replica is so spot-on, visiting teams will often practice on it during road trips to play the Lakers or Clippers.

Those practices during the season are within league rules. But during the coronavirus pandemic, the league prohibited any team practices before July 9.

Steven Jackson Bel Air House

If these rumors are true, James and his teammates have been practicing for weeks on this court. It's a smart move – the Lakers are a title favorite, but the shortened regular season levels the playing field. Eight seeding games might not be enough for teams to get back into the swing of things before the playoffs.

And it's highly likely other teams have been doing this in secret, too. Anonymous sources have shared as much. Players that don't have great home gyms or courts may have snuck off to get some shots up or do some training at a closed gym. The NBA probably can't do much about any of these workouts, unless definitive proof comes out somehow. 

Besides, with the season resuming at the end of the month, they have much bigger concerns.

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