What prompted Will Smith to meet with the L.A. Lakers?


Looking to turn their lackluster season around, the Lakers are getting some coaching from Will Smith.

On Wednesday the team’s official Twitter and Instagram accounts revealed that the Oscar-winning actor stopped by the Lakers’ training facility to help inspire its players.

It was a rare public appearance for the “King Richard” star, who has kept a low profile since the fallout from when he slapped comedian Chris Rock onstage at the 94th Academy Awards in April.

“Huge thank you to Will Smith, who joined the team to discuss strength through togetherness, and practicing gratitude in times of great challenge,” the Lakers’ matching social media posts said Wednesday.

Smith’s meeting with the Lakers was part of the team’s “Genius Talk” series, an annual event where speakers motivate players to achieve their goals on and off the court. Previous guests have included actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and rapper Nas.

In addition to chatting with the Lakers, the former “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” star met with owner Jeanie Buss and marveled at the team’s awards — kinda.

“We’re here at the Lakers’ training facility, and I’m very excited to be here with all of their trophies,” Smith said in a video posted on his Instagram account. “It’s just important to say there’s not a trophy from 1983, OK? ‘Cause that’s the year Julius Erving led Sixers to a win.”

2022 has been rough for both the Lakers and Smith.

On Sunday at Arena the Lakers lost to the Portland Trail Blazers 106-104, days after losing to the L.A. Clippers on Oct. 20, and the Golden State Warriors before that.

Smith, on the other hand, is still facing the repercussions from the Oscars slap.

The actor, who weathered criticism from both the motion picture academy and his Hollywood peers, has apologized multiple times and now looks forward to his upcoming film, “Emancipation.”

“Gave a sneak peek of #Emancipation to the @lakers and had a GREAT convo about the film for their Genius Series,” he wrote on Instagram on Wednesday. “big thanx to everyone who came thru!!

Despite Smith’s efforts to move forward, Lakers fans are projecting his Oscars debacle onto their hopes for the team.

“Honestly as laker fan, hopefully Will slapped some wins in their minds for tonight,” one follower commented on the Lakers’ post.

“hope he knocked some sense into [Russell Westbrook],” said another user.

“If the lakers are looking to will smith for help, things are worse than I thought,” said another.

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