NBA superstar LeBron James' decision to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers was probably not a shock to many who follow the league. And for all Angelenos, there's good reason to believe the Lakers will return to prominence sooner than later with James as the franchise's cornerstone.
Rams running back Todd Gurley is one such believer — but there's more to it than basketball. The 2017 AP Offensive Player of the Year said James' arrival makes him want to raise the bar on himself.
"I love it. It's motivation for me," Gurley said at the Hyundai Youth Football Camp in Santa Monica last weekend. "When you bring in a guy as great as him to a city like this, it kind of motivates you to step up your work ethic because you want to be a part of the winning as well. The guy's went to the Finals the last [eight] years, so you know that's what's coming to the city."
Everyone knows it's essential to win in a city like Los Angeles, and Gurley's seeing that from teams all around the sports landscape.
"And then you have the Dodgers that made it to the World Series last year. And, obviously, we made the playoffs," Gurley said. "But, hey, they're making the World Series, LeBron's going to The Finals — that kind of motivates like, 'Hey, we need to be right up with these guys and working hard.' So I love it, man. I love it."
Gurley hosted the Hyundai camp for the second straight year, and said he appreciated being asked to come back.
"I had a great time last year here. And to be able to come back and see some familiar faces and just have a good time. Six hours out here, first session then the second session. But it's a good time," Gurley said. "Thankful for Hyundai for having me out here and being able to do this again."
Whenever Gurley does a youth camp, he emphasizes to the campers the importance of respecting and appreciating your parents to the kids. And when relaying why that's the message he wants to leave campers with, Gurley brought up Los Angeles' newest star once again.
"I mean, just being in my position, the kids might listen to me, they might not. But just being in my shoes, if LeBron told me to tie my shoe every day before five o'clock, I'm probably going to tie my shoe every day before five o'clock if I want to be as great as him," Gurley said. "So just the little things, really appreciate parents for what they do. As a kid, you don't really see all the hard work and things they do for kids. But you've just got to appreciate your parents, always just preach to the kids to respect their elders. You know, just try to leave them with something — leave them with something that's to be respectful to their elders."