LeBron James and Anthony Davis Got Their Minds’ Blown by David Blaine

The Los Angeles Lakers were having their best season since a prime Kobe Bryant helped lead them to back-to-back NBA Championships when the season was suspended. Before the suspension, however, the team had a little bit of fun with a world-renowned magician.

David Blaine, whose brand of street magic has entertained the masses for over twenty years, visited the team, and what he did left stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis in awe. 

Who is David Blaine?

David Blaine at a press confrence
David Blaine during a press confrence | Shane Gritzinger/FilmMagic

Blaine has blurred the line between street magic, endurance tests, and entertainment in a way that few since Harry Houdini have accomplished, according to Biography.com.

He got his start doing magic away from cameras, but after realizing the impact he had on audiences, he sent a videotape of his performances to ABC, who gave him a special in 1997 called David Blaine: Street Magic. The show was a hit, and Blaine was a household name. 

Blaine released a follow-up special two years later called Magic Man before adding another layer to his persona. Not so much magic as feats in endurance, Blaine began to test the limits of the human body, submerging himself in water for over a week and freezing himself into a block of ice for 72 hours. In 2002, he stood atop a 100-foot pillar for 35 hours straight in a feat called Vertigo. 

While Blaine had his skeptics, his genre of magic caused a renaissance in magic, and his stunts consistently drew in crowds. In 2006, he performed his most ambitious feat yet, submerging himself into a water-filled sphere for a week before attempting to break the world record for breath-holding while escaping chains. Blaine failed, but the audacity of the stunt brought him recognition.

Blaine isn’t the draw he once was, but his performances will always draw fans. In his stunt with the Lakers, he proved how strong his brand still is. 

David Blaine does a card trick for the Lakers

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Blaine had Anthony Davis sign a card, then told him and LeBron James to hold his wrists to avoid any obvious slights of hand. He followed up with questions about which suits he wanted to eliminate and the card he chose. Blaine used his classic showmanship as he removed all of the suits that James and Davis told him, leaving just the hearts despite their massive grips on his wrist.

Later, he performed a trick with Rajon Rondo. The magician had the Lakers point guard think of a card in his head, then give a number and count through a deck of cards in his hand.

Rondo picked the Jack of Diamonds and counted nine cards to discover a different card. However, Blaine told him to turn his hand over and look at his watch, where the Jack of Diamonds was waiting for him. The Lakers erupted with laughter. 

Blaine has always had a knack for getting the audience to eat out of his palm, but seeing James, Davis, and the rest of the team react to his magic showed that he has just as much of an effect on basketball’s biggest names. 

The Lakers’ return

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The Lakers now have to pull a different kind of card out of their sleeve. Despite dominating the Western Conference for much of the regular season, returning from a four-month absence with an aging James will not be an easy path to glory. The team has its highest expectations in years during a genuinely unprecedented time. 

Perhaps they can summon some of the magic that Blaine showed them in these meetings and win it all. Regardless, the sight of James losing it like a school kid as Blaine pulls these magic tricks is an entertaining look behind the scenes.