Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers were the class of the NBA during separate eras of his 20-year career, and that honor has now been bestowed upon the Golden State Warriors. As back-to-back champions and winners of three of the last four NBA Finals, they are considered the benchmark of the league.
Though, after four consecutive deep playoff runs, the Warriors appear more vulnerable than ever this season. Of course, it would not come as much of a surprise if they manage to get healthy and overcome internal conflict to three-peat.
They would become the first team to win three consecutive championships since Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal led the Lakers on such a run from 2000-02. After some of the worst seasons in franchise history, optimism is abound as the Lakers are now led by LeBron James.
“Of course they will,” answered Bryant at the 15th annual Lakers All-Access event, when asked if the team would return to the mountaintop. “They have a determination to figure it out. They will figure it out. They have talented pieces and Rob has put them in position right now with incredible flexibility. They will figure it out.”
In typical Bryant fashion, the five-time champion included a friendly jab in the name of competition. “Enjoy the journey because we’ll be champions before you know it, and then we’ll just be laughing at all the Warrior fans who all of the sudden came out of nowhere.”
Bryant laughed off his remark before adding some clarification behind his belief. “I don’t mean to dog the owners, they’re amazing,” he said. “Bob Meyers is a good friend, but, but, I remember going there to play and looking around and seeing a lot of Laker jerseys in the stands.”