Lakers Unveil Massive Banners Around L.A. Urging Dwight Howard To Stay
Dwight Howard reportedly is unlikely to re-sign with the Lakers, but the team yesterday "unveiled a massive banner" on the side of Staples Center with a photo of the soon-to-be free agent and "one message: 'Stay,'" according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN L.A. Lakers VP/PR John Black said the sign is one of "six or seven" billboards the Lakers plan on putting up in "various key locations" to try to keep Howard. The Lakers also "unveiled a billboard above Hollywood Boulevard with the same message." Both signs "include the hashtag 'STAYD12,' hoping the message catches on through social media." Black said that the team also will take out a "full-page advertisement" in the L.A. Times. Black described the campaign as a "company-wide initiative" agreed upon by both the basketball operations and business side of the Lakers. Black said that the Lakers have treated previous players such as Shaquille O'Neal to "grandiose displays of appreciation." But they have "not embarked on this type of campaign with a free agent." The NBA free-agency period officially begins July 1 (ESPNLA.com, 6/26). YAHOO SPORTS' Dan Devine wrote whether "slapping a plea on a billboard does L.A. any good remains to be seen ... but clearly, Lakers brass wants to make sure the All-Star center knows that they want him to stick around, in big, bold, declarative, in-no-way-uncertain terms" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 6/26).