General manager Rob Pelinka described it as an “incredibly bright and promising day” before officially introducing Darvin Ham as the Los Angeles Lakers’ new head coach.
Ham thanked God, his family, and everyone who had supported him over the course of his life before addressing the Lakers’ future.
“We have a strong basketball team and basketball hops. We’re gonna put together a strong staff, and I think the sky’s the limit. We’re not putting a ceiling on our situation. We’ll go as far as our daily preparation takes us,” said Ham.
Ham takes over a Laker team that went 33-49 in the regular season, finished eleventh in the Western Conference, and missed the playoffs.
An assistant with the Milwaukee Bucks since 2018, this isn’t Ham’s first time in LA.
After playing in the league for nine years, Ham earned his first assistant coaching job with the Lakers in 2011.
“The fact that I got my start as a coach here, this place will always be special to me,” said Ham. “It’s like a homecoming for me, in all seriousness.”
Maligned Laker Russell Westbrook attended the announcement to show his support for the new coach.
“Russ and I had some really, really great one-on-one convos, man, and the biggest word I think that came out of that, those discussions, was ‘sacrifice,'” Ham said. “I’m going to expect him to be the same tenacious, high-energy player that he’s been all his entire career. A lot of that now may have him without the ball in his hand. Most of it now may have it on the defensive end. But, again, we have to sacrifice. There’s no achieving anything without all parties sharing the load, sacrificing instead of one-on-one.”
During an interview with ESPN’s Malika Andrews, the 48-year-old Ham said he had been in contact with LeBron James, and James was excited to have Ham on board.
“His communication with me has been great, phenomenal, and to see him so excited really sent chills through me,” said Ham.
Ham is the 28th coach for the Purple and gold.