Lebron James and Veruca Salt.
Two names you’ve probably never seen side by side, but believe me, we should be comparing these two more often.
We’ve all heard of Veruca Salt, but LeBron James, someone more under the radar, is a professional basketball player for the Los Angeles Lakers. James is one of those NBA journeymen who has fought his way onto a roster each year — and for the most part — has made a positive impact on his team. In total, he has played for three teams in 15 seasons. (Which, by the way, is 15 more seasons than Markelle Fultz will play.)
As for Veruca Salt, she is the spoiled 10 year-old girl from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, most famous for shouting the words “I want it now daddy!” Which, in the context of the movie scene, she was begging for a golden egg. (See below)
Meanwhile, for LeBron, perennial all-star forward Anthony Davis was his golden egg. And I guess his daddy was Rob Pelinka or Magic Johnson.
In an attempt to get his golden egg, James looked at more than half his team and said “fuck y’all, hope you like gumbo” and tried to ship everyone out to New Orleans. The man was acting just like Veruca, doing all the begging he could to get Davis. In both scenarios, neither of the authoritative figures were able to stand their ground. After Bron got mad, Magic and Pelinka shriveled up, giving into LeBron’s demands. This is just like Veruca’s father in the golden egg scene, offering to pay up any amount that he could in order to get his daughter what she wanted.
As if this comparison wasn’t poetic enough, the ending in both scenarios is identically the same. In Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Willy Wonka refuses the offer from Veruca’s father, and in the end, Veruca ends up getting shoved down the garbage chute, with her father following right behind her.
Now looking at the Lakers’ situation, LeBron’s fathers, Rob and Magic, threw everything they could at the Pelicans in order to get Davis to Los Angeles. Unsuccessfully, they offered half their team including young stars Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, Lonzo Ball, as well as veteran role players Lance Stephenson, Rajon Rondo, Michael Beasley, and two 1st round picks.
The Pelicans looked at this offer one time, said “nah, we good” and as a result, made LeBron and Magic look like absolute clowns. We have no idea what this did to the chemistry of the team, but there was certainly nothing positive that came out of the situation. LeBron basically took his relationship with these young guns like Lonzo and Brandon Ingram and shoved it down the metaphorical garbage chute.
Safe to say, after this event, nothing was the same (Like the bad Drake album). The Lakers were trash the remainder of the season, with the lone bright spot being Alex “I’m calling the cops” Caruso. The struggles were also in large part due to injuries, but you could tell that certain players had quit on the season, prioritizing Space Jam film sessions over practicing with the team.
Despite all of these similarities between the two scenarios, LeBron actually ended up getting what he wanted, unlike Veruca. Five months after humiliation, James was able to ship off half of his teammates in return for Anthony Davis, his golden egg.
When comparing the egg room scene to the NBA trade deadline, we get a true sense of fantasy versus reality. In reality, complaining can actually get you what you want, as it did for LeBron. So I guess the ending message is, if you complain enough, things can actually work out in your favor. No question, Roald Dahl — the creator of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory — is certainly tossing and turning in his grave.