Thursday was a night of firsts for LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers. They picked up their first home win of the season and James recorded his first triple-double with the storied franchise. Also, Kobe Bryant was on hand to take in the action.
Want to get your content COMPLETELY AD FREE? Follow us on Apple News!
He was seated along the baseline with former agent and current Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka. Controlling owner Jeanie Buss and president of basketball operations Magic Johnson were among those to make their way over to greet Bryant.
He was also shown on the Staples Center video board, which drew a loud applause from the crowd. Although the Lakers kept their focus on the court to defeat the previously unbeaten Denver Nuggets, Bryant’s presence was felt by many.
“I didn’t get an opportunity to share any words with him,” James said. “Of course you notice him sitting on the baseline. He’s one of the all-time Laker greats. What he did for this franchise in his 20 years that he was here, speaks wonders.
“For me to be able to compete against him all those years and for me to be able to share the same jersey as him is pretty special.”
Although Bryant and James were pitted as rivals when both were playing, there’s long been a mutual respect between the two. That’s seemingly grown since James signed with the Lakers.
Bryant has regularly conveyed he is available to James and his family, and he also shared a similar excitement in watching the franchise’s new leader to what James expressed after his 74th career triple-double.