Will Smith Visits L.A. Lakers and Talks About Having ‘Gratitude in Times of Great Challenge’

Actor Will Smith attends the Warner Bros.  Pictures' "Focus"  It premiered at the TCL Chinese Theater on February 24, 2015 in Hollywood, California.

Actor Will Smith attends the Warner Bros. Pictures’ “Focus” premiere at the TCL Chinese Theater on February 24, 2015 in Hollywood, California.

Jason Merritt/Getty Will Smith

Will Smith returns to hosting and watching the public.

The Los Angeles Lakers announced Wednesday that the actor, 54, who has been silent since his Oscars controversy in March, visited the team as part of the Lakers Genius Talks. The event is an annual conference where celebrities speak to the group to provide inspiration.

The Oscar winner was given a 14 Lakers jersey and was photographed with the team and team owner, Jeanie Buss, and general manager, Rob Pelinka. According to the Lakers, the actor spoke about “the strength of the team, and the practice of gratitude during a great challenge.”

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This team is currently in the midst of a losing season.

Smith’s message was said to be inspired by “themes in his upcoming feature film, Release.”

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Sharing a photo of the group, Smith wrote on Instagram: “I pitched #Emancipation to the @lakers and had a GREAT discussion about their Genius Series film…thanks to everyone who came!! Stop by next…my @six.”

Apple Original Films released the official trailer for the film earlier this month in which Smith plays a man who escapes slavery and sets out on a quest for freedom.

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At a screening of the film held in early October, Smith elaborated on the film’s theme and message.

“Throughout my career, I’ve turned down a lot of films that were set in slavery,” Smith said at the show. I The Hollywood Reporter. “I didn’t want to show us like that. And then this picture came. And this is not a film about slavery. This is a film about freedom. This is a film about resilience. This is a film about faith. This is a film about freedom. A film about the human heart – what can be called the first viral picture .

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It’s his first film appearance since his incident at the 94th Academy Awards where he slapped Chris Rock in front of the audience after the comedian made a joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.

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While Smith won the Best Player award that night for himself King Richard performance, he resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and was eventually banned from attending Academy events for ten years after the incident.

Smith won Best Actor at this year’s BET awards in June but did not attend the ceremony.


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