LeBron James and Kobe Bryant are two of the greatest basketball players to ever step foot on an NBA floor and the Los Angeles Lakers franchise is more than fortunate to have had both don the purple and gold.
When Bryant tragically passed earlier this year it deeply affected LeBron, the Lakers organization and entire world. The relationship between the two superstars has come into focus since the tragedy, as most were unaware that they did share a brotherhood.
The two spoke the night before Kobe’s untimely passing as LeBron had just surpassed him on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. One subject that possibly came up was the two meeting up at some point, a meeting that obviously never happened and still bugs LeBron to this day.
In an interview with Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports, James spoke about the regret he has of never meeting with Kobe after joining the Lakers:
“Of course, you think there’s going to be time for us to get together and I understand that there are regrets in life, but I definitely wish I had that moment with him,” James told Yahoo Sports. “I do remember when I decided to come here, he sent me a text right away and said, ‘Welcome, brother. Welcome to the family.’
“That was a special moment because at the time, Laker faithful wasn’t [fully in on me]. A lot of people were saying, ‘Well, we might not want LeBron at this point in his career,’ and, ‘Is he right? Is he going to get us back [to the Finals]?’ So to hear from him and get his stamp of approval, it meant a lot. I don’t ever question myself, but when it’s coming from Kobe, it definitely meant a lot.”
As James said, there were many Lakers fans who initially weren’t too happy with him joining the team. The constant debate of who was the best player in the league between Kobe and LeBron had led many fans to despise James, even though they had never faced in the playoffs.
But Kobe immediately embraced LeBron from the moment he made his decision. Bryant knew that this would begin the return to greatness of this franchise. Tragedies of this nature always cause many to think about what could’ve been and what they wish they had done when someone was still alive.
This is surely eating at LeBron, but the Lakers have kept Bryant close throughout this run and now just four wins away from an NBA championship, there is no better way to pay homage to an all-time great.
LeBron reveals Western Conference Finals thoughts
The Lakers have been drawing from Bryant’s mindset as none of the players have been celebrating too much and have continually maintained that the job isn’t yet finished. One image that summarized that idea was the picture of James stoically sitting on the ground during the Western Conference Finals celebration.
James’ face stood out as the rest of the Lakers were smiling and laughing. “Obviously, you guys know how much I love Mike Malone. He’s incredible. He’s the reason why that team is so damn good. So I was thinking about that,” James said afterwards.
“I was also thinking about some of my teammates who this is their first appearance to the Finals. Obviously A.D. had a lot on my thought process. This is the reason why I wanted to be a teammate of his and why I brought him here. I wanted him to see things that he had not seen before in this league. To be able to come through for him meant a lot for me personally.
“Then I started thinking about the next opponent. Boston had a few moments in my head. Miami had a few moments in my head as well. How challenging that’s going to be, whoever wins that series. Then I just started thinking about my journey as well.”
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