Lakers News: LeBron James ‘Looked Up’ To Kobe Bryant For Coming To NBA Straight Out Of High School
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

In Year 17, LeBron James has seemingly been etching his name in the records books on a nightly basis with the Los Angeles Lakers.

James, in his second season donning the purple and gold, has already hit some career milestones such as moving up on the NBA’s all-time assists and made field goals list.

However, most of the chatter in the past week has been about his place atop the all-time scoring list. James currently sits at fourth but is very close to passing Kobe Bryant for third, which of course in Los Angeles is a big deal given the latter’s legendary status within team history.

After the team’s win against the New York Knicks, James opened up about what Bryant has meant to him, via Spectrum SportsNet:

“I don’t know. I haven’t really thought about it too much. It’s another guy that I looked up to when I was in grade school and high school and seeing him come straight out of high school… he’s someone that I use as inspiration. I was like, wow, seeing a kid of 17-years-old coming into the NBA and trying to make an impact on a franchise.

I used that as motivation. He helped me before he even knew of me because of what he was able to do. Just to be able to at this point in my career to share the same jersey that he wore, be with this historical franchise and just represent the purple and gold is very humbling. It’s dope. Kobe’s a legend, that’s for damn sure.”

Bryant was asked recently about how he will feel about James passing him on the list and strongly voiced his support for him, saying that it is an accomplishment that should be celebrated. While some fans may have mixed feelings about James surpassing Bryant, there is no denying just how momentous the occasion will be once it happens.

Throughout the 2019-20 NBA season, James has done nothing but downplay what it means to climb up NBA lists and so far that still seems to be the case even when someone like Bryant is involved. That kind of mentality coupled with his insistence on focusing on the current team’s success is a key example of how effective James is as a leader.

The 35-year-old has turned the purple and gold back into a championship contender and hopefully he is able to keep this pace going all the way through June.