The incessant Saudis, after bringing football greats like Neymar, Cristiano Ronaldo, Phil Mickelson, and Dustin Johnson into the country, are now turning their sights towards basketball. NBA legend LeBron James was spotted in Riyadh. He was escorted to a gymnasium with a banner that read “Welcome to Arabia” and “Ministry of Sport.” Not too long ago, in a tweet shared in July, LeBron joked about signing a one-year deal to play in Saudi Arabia.
— LeBron James (@KingJames) July 25, 2023
“Me headed to Saudi when they call @RichPaul4 & @mavcarter for that 1 year deal!” It explains why this sighting could send fans into a frenzy, as a reported two-year, $1 billion deal to play for Al-Hilal sounds like a too-good-to-miss offer. The air was cleared by some sources who said Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Sports invited the Los Angeles Lakers superstar to visit the country for a friendly match at AZM Academy.
Dr. Ghassan Tashkundi, President of the Saudi Basketball Federation, said, “We are honored to welcome LeBron James to Saudi Arabia today. We all felt great joy to see the reactions of the players and the smiles on their faces when they enter the hall. I’d like to thank him for the passion he shows during training and taking his time to inspire the next generation of our Kingdom sports players.” He added, “LeBron is more than just an athlete and his influence on young men and women extends far beyond the world of sports. I’m sure his visit today and interacting with the players made lifelong memories and made their dreams come true.”
The four-time NBA champion shared a selfie taken by Bader bin Farhan Alsaud, the Kingdom’s minister of culture, with the caption: ‘Love my brother!!! Until next.’ The King may eventually move to the Kingdom once he calls time on his NBA career. Saudi Arabia is known for making offers deemed as those one could not refuse.