Among the millions who have struggled with the news, LeBron James has had a tough time as the two had built a brother-like bond over the years and it had only intensified with James’ move to Los Angeles.
Following the tragic news, James was understandably not interested in talking to the media or releasing a statement. However, when James did so a few days later, he vowed to carry on Bryant’s legacy in the purple and gold, taking the Lakers team and putting it on his back in his 17th season.
Now, at James’ 16th consecutive All-Star appearance, James was asked about Bryant at his media availability. And while James still struggles to talk about him for an extended period of time, he knows that Bryant is watching over him and the whole team.
“We know that he’s watching over us. It’s our responsibility to just represent the purple and gold not only for him but for all the greats, everybody that’s ever come through the Lake Show,” James said.
“I really don’t want to sit up here and talk about it too much. It’s a very, very sensitive subject, but he’s with us every day.”
It’s obvious the entire organization is still grieving the loss of Bryant despite how normal the Lakers final few games before the 2020 NBA All-Star Weekend felt. And James is at the forefront of this, being the vocal and emotional leader of the team’s locker room.
All-Star Weekend is likely another harsh reminder for James and the Lakers with the number of tributes and changes to honor Bryant. James, Anthony Davis, and the entire Lakers coaching staff will be on the bench representing Team LeBron where the game is filled with references to Bryant. This is including the newest change that the All-Star Game MVP award is being named after Bryant.
James has shown in the last three weeks that he is the ideal person to lead the Lakers during this time and if he says Bryant is watching over them, there’s no reason not to believe him.