Will Smith is getting his head back in the game following his controversial Oscars slap in March. The 54-year-old actor posed with the Los Angeles Lakers on Oct. 26 after giving them a speech about overcoming hardships, which the team thanked him for on their official Instagram page. “Huge thank you to Will Smith, who joined the team to discuss strength through togetherness, and practicing gratitude in times of great challenge,” the caption read. “All themes in his forthcoming masterpiece film, Emancipation.” In the photo, seen here, Will smiled wide as he stood with the team and held up a yellow Lakers jersey with his last name embroidered across the back in purple lettering.
The image was followed by others showing Will shooting some hoops, posing with the Lakers’ owner, Jeanie Buss, and grinning in front of a row of glistening NBA champion trophies. Will also shared a slideshow of snapshots from the visit and a video in which he reminded fans that he hasn’t forgotten about Philadelphia, his hometown. “I’m very excited, you know, to be here, you know, with all of their trophies and it’s just important to say that there’s not a trophy from 1983, okay? Okay, because that’s the year that Julius Erving led the Sixers to a win,” he smiled. “I’m here supporting, but y’all know what I’m talking about.” Of course, the Sixers is Philadelphia’s pro basketball team.
“Gave a sneak peek of #Emancipation to the @lakers and had a GREAT convo about the film for their Genius Series… big thanx to everyone who came thru!! Next stop… my @sixers,” Will captioned the post. Emancipation is Will’s upcoming Apple TV+ film in which he plays Peter, a Black man who escapes slavery during the American Civil War.
Just two days before Will’s Lakers visit, he posted a selfie with some of his friends and fellow celebrities who came out to support him during a special preview of the movie, as seen below. “EPIC night!! Thanx for coming to see #Emancipation. Hope ya’ll enjoyed!!” he wrote before tagging Dave Chappelle, Rihanna, Tyler Perry, Kenya Barris, A$AP Rocky, and more.
At the beginning of October, Will took a few moments to promote the film and admitted it was a very taxing role for him to play. “This was the hardest movie I’ve ever made. Blood, Sweat & Tears… LITERALLY!” he wrote on Instagram alongside a snippet of the movie. “Shoutout to Apple who doubled (and tripled) down on their commitment to deliver this epic story to the world.” Emancipation will stream on Apple TV+ on Dec. 9.