The Guide to LeBron James' Los Angeles

It's good to be the King

LeBron James | Photo courtesy of NBA, Facebook

In July 2018, LeBron James signed a four-year, $154-million contract with the Los Angeles Lakers and the spotlight returned to one of the most storied franchises in sports history. Widely regarded as the best basketball player in the world and one of the greatest players of all time, LeBron brought a long list of career highlights to the Lakers, including: 3 NBA championships, 3-time NBA Finals MVP, 4-time NBA MVP, 14-time All-Star, an NBA scoring title, and two Olympic Gold Medals.

With the summer 2019 signing of six-time All-Star Anthony Davis, expectations are high for the Lakers to raise a 17th Championship Banner at STAPLES Center. As King James continues his reign in Los Angeles, read on and discover LeBron James' LA.

Purple (& Gold) Reign: Los Angeles Lakers

The famous purple and gold uniforms of the Los Angeles Lakers made their debut when the team began playing their home games at The Forum in 1967. Purple was the favorite color of the Lakers’ then-owner, Jack Kent Cooke, who changed the color scheme when he bought the team and moved them from Minneapolis to LA. For some reason, Cooke always referred to the Lakers’ purple as “blue,” so Hall of Fame broadcaster, Chick Hearn coined the phrase “Forum Blue and Gold” to describe the team’s home uniforms.

Unveiled for the 2018-19 season, the new Lakers uniforms brought back an element of the 1980s Showtime Era - updated numbers, which use a vertical drop shadow - along with a rounded neckline. The Lakers purple "Statement" jersey features the addition of a black side panel.

Something tells us King James is a Prince fan. In an Instagram story, LeBron shared an exclusive edition of his signature Nike LeBron 15 that he dubbed "Purple Rain," featuring a purple floral pattern and other purple touches. The Instastory was timed to the anniversary of Purple Rain opening in theatres in 1984.

In August 2017, Prince was honored by the Pantone Color Institute with "Love Symbol #2," a custom color inspired by the legendary musician's purple Yamaha piano. LA has plenty of purple power, from the studio where Purple Rain was recorded to the Metro Purple Line and more. Read on for the best places in LA to celebrate Prince's purple reign.

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LeBron James makes his first public appearance as a Laker | Instagram by @kingjames

Fairfax District

His Purple Rain shoes weren't the first time LeBron chose Prince's favorite color for his sneakers. In his first public appearance as a Laker during the 2018 NBA Summer League, all eyes were on LeBron and his purple suede Nike Air Zoom Generation sneakers - according to USA Today, they're fireproof! 

While you may not find fireproof purple suede Nikes, you might discover your new favorite pair of sneakers in the Fairfax District, which LA rapper Nocando affectionately calls “the Tigris and Euphrates of cool.” Besides Tyler the Creator's flagship GOLF store, you’ll find Supreme, Pink Dolphin, DOPE, the Hundreds, and Crooks & Castles. Read on for Nocando's guide to hip hop in LA.

Blaze Pizza

In 2012, LeBron James and his business partners made an initial $1-million investment in Blaze Pizza that's now worth an estimated $35 to $40 million, according to ESPN. Founded in Pasadena in 2011, the fast casual pizza chain has grown spectacularly and now spans more than 260 locations across the U.S., Canada and even Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. James doesn't have to go far to enjoy his investment - there's a Blaze location at STAPLES Center, with dozens more across L.A. County.

CicLAvia & Biking the Strand

LeBron is an avid cyclist - he famously biked to work during his tenure with the Miami Heat, he was a part-owner of Cannondale Bicycles, and the LeBron James Family Foundation sponsors Wheels for Education, a mentoring program for at-risk youth that grew from a bike-a-thon the foundation sponsored in his hometown of Akron, Ohio.

While Los Angeles is famous for its car culture, the city is increasingly embracing the car-free cycling life. The largest open streets event in the U.S., CicLAvia temporarily closes streets to car traffic and opens them for Angelenos to use as a public park - creating a safe place to bike, walk, skate, roll, and dance. Since 2010, over 1 million people have experienced CicLAvia.

LeBron spends plenty of time at the Lakers state of the art training center in El Segundo. Located a few miles to the west, the 22-mile Marvin Braude Bike Trail (aka The Strand) is a paved bike path begins at Will Rogers State Beach near Pacific Palisades. The second half of our two-part guide starts at Playa del Rey, travels through the Beach Cities of the South Bay (Manhattan, Hermosa, Redondo) and ends at Torrance Beach.

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LeBron's wine nights are better than yours | Instagram by @kingjames

Wine Tastings

LeBron James: NBA champion and All-Star, future Hall of Famer, Olympic Gold Medalist, business mogul… wine connoisseur? It's true, and you already know this if you follow LeBron's Instagram feed, where he occasionally posts a high-end bottle (or empties from a $1,200 wine night). Wine critics have said LeBron's picks are legit: "He must love cabernets and cabernet-based blends—they're all from top producers," said master sommelier Dustin Wilson in an interview with Bleacher Report.

While most people can't afford to casually drop $300 to $500 a bottle like King James, there's plenty of delicious wine available to mere mortals that won't cost a princely sum. One of the best ways to explore new and unusual wines is by attending a local wine tasting. Read on for our guide to upping your wine game at these L.A. wine shops.

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LeBron James and his Mercedes-Maybach S600 | Instagram by @kingjames

The Vault at the Petersen Automotive Museum

When your net worth is somewhere north of $400 million, not just any car will do. Or any dozen cars for that matter, as websites continue to obsess over LeBron's mindblowing car collection. For car buffs, The Vault at the Petersen Automotive Museum is a bucket list experience - an extraordinary collection of 250 iconic and rare cars from around the world exhibited in a newly renovated 60,000 square-foot underground space. Two tour options are available: the 75-minute Introductory Tour and the 120-minute World Tour.

The Petersen isn't the only museum for gearheads. From classics to hot rods, read on for incredible car collections on view at museums and showrooms across Los Angeles.

"Elated" mole abuelita enchiladas at Gratitude Beverly Hills
"Elated" mole abuelita enchiladas at Gratitude Beverly Hills | Instagram by @foodsaplenty

Healthy Dining

Sports Illustrated reported that LeBron and his wife Savannah dined at A Votre Sante in Brentwood on the morning before the world found out that he would sign with the Lakers. Known for his workout regimen and for going on extreme diets, LeBron and his fellow exercise fanatics will find numerous restaurants in LA that feature the vegan and healthy cuisine that A Votre Sante has served for more than 30 years. Start with our guide to the best vegan restaurants in Los Angeles, then explore the top vegan food trucks and pop-ups.

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LeBron James wore black and white "EQUALITY" sneakers against the Washington Wizards in December 2017 | Instagram by @kingjames

California African American Museum

Through his foundation and in numerous interviews, LeBron has been a strong voice for the African American community. He spoke out in support of the NFL players National Anthem protests,and recently gave $2.5 million to help fund a Muhammad Ali exhibit at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. In December 2017, LeBron made a statement in a game at the Washington Wizards by wearing one black and one white sneaker - each had the word "EQUALITY" stitched in gold. His Instagram caption read, "Stand for something of power and change or don't stand for anything!"

Located at Exposition Park in Downtown L.A., the California African American Museum (CAAM) exists to research, collect, preserve and interpret for public enrichment, the history, art and culture of African Americans. The museum conserves more than 3,500 objects of art, historical artifacts and memorabilia, and maintains a research library with more than 20,000 books and other reference materials available for limited public use.

The Liberator was an early 20th-century newspaper that documented the emerging African American population in Los Angeles. Founded in 1900 by Jefferson Lewis Edmonds, a former slave who advocated for improved social and economic conditions for black men and women, the publication reported on local, national, and international news and provided a source of racial upliftment for over a decade. As The Liberator’s editor, Edmonds portrayed LA as a city of hope for African Americans, particularly compared to the violence and hardship they experienced in the South, and the paper contributed significantly to the city’s rapidly increasing black population. Yet Edmonds also used it as a vehicle to denounce injustices both locally and nationally.

The Liberator: Chronicling Black Los Angeles, 1900–1914 sheds light on the expansion of the city’s African American community, its challenges in a post-Reconstruction era, and its hopes and accomplishments, as captured in the newspaper’s pages. More than a century since The Liberator’s final issue, this exhibition includes rare ephemera, photographs, and artifacts that offer a unique study of the narrative of black Los Angeles.

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LeBron James and Brice Marden at Casa Malaparte | Instagram by @mirabellezahara

Must See Art & Modern Houses

After signing with the Lakers, LeBron took "summer vacation" to another level - he and his family jetted to Italy, where they chilled out aboard a luxury yacht on the Amalfi Coast. On July 4, 2018 he was seen hanging out with acclaimed artist Brice Marden at the Modern masterpiece, Casa Malaparte on the Isle of Capri. From jazz at LACMA to the family-friendly Summer Nights at Descanso Gardens, the James family will love attending the numerous cultural nights out in LA.

Ennis House | Photo: Scott Beale, Flickr
Ennis House | Photo: Scott Beale, Flickr

If anyone can afford to buy the famed Ennis House - designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and listed in 2018 by billionaire investor Ron Burkle for $23 million - it's King James. If a Mayan-inspired house isn't his style, LA has many more Modernism landmarks that might catch his eye - or at least are open to the public for tours if he's just "window shopping."

The King XXIII Roll at Katsuya
The King XXIII Roll at Katsuya | Photo: Ryan Forbes

The King XXIII Roll at Katsuya

To welcome LeBron to Los Angeles, sbe’s sushi concept, Katsuya created The King XXIII Roll - King Crab, A4 Wagyu Beef, Truffle Butter, Wasabi and Ume topped with Caviar. To further honor King James, sbe donated $1 from every $35 King XXIII Roll sold to the LeBron James Family Foundation to support its newly opened I PROMISE School in Akron, Ohio.

The King XXIII Roll launched in October 2018 during the week of the Lakers’ regular-season home opener against the Houston Rockets. The King XXIII Roll was available throughout the NBA regular season at all Katsuya Los Angeles locations: L.A. LIVE, Hollywood, Brentwood and Glendale.

Stay tuned to see if The King XXIII Roll will return for the 2019-20 season!