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

Actor Will Smith of Warner Bros. Pictures

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

Jason Merritt/Getty Will Smith

Will Smith is making his return to acting and the public spotlight.

The Los Angeles Lakers announced Wednesday that the actor, 54, who has been silent since his Oscar controversy in March, visited the team as part of the Lakers’ genius talks. The event is an annual conference where celebrities speak to the team to offer inspiration.

The Oscar winner was presented with a No. 14 Lakers jersey and photographed with the team and team owner Jenny Buss and general manager Rob Pelinka. According to the Lakers, the actor spoke about “strength through togetherness, and practicing gratitude in times of great challenge.”

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

Smith’s message is said to be “inspired by themes in his next masterpiece, to be free

Related: A history of Will Smith and Chris Rock’s relationship through the years

Also sharing a photo of the team, Smith wrote on Instagram: “Showing the @lakers a glimpse of #Emancipation and a great deal about the movie for their genius series… Big thanks to everyone who came through!! Next stop… [email protected] shudder.”

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

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

“Throughout my career, I’ve turned down a lot of movies that are set in slavery,” Smith said at the screening. J The Hollywood Reporter. “I never wanted to show us like this.” And then the picture came out. And it’s not a film about slavery, it’s about freedom, it’s about resilience, it’s about faith. This is a movie. A film about the heart of a man – which can be called the first viral picture. Cameras were still being made, and Peter’s image of the link went around the world.

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This is his first film since the incident at the 94th Academy Awards where he slapped Chris Rock in front of a live audience after the comedian made a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith.

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While Smith won the best actor award for himself that night King Richard performance, he resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and was eventually banned from attending Academy events for a decade following the incident.

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


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