LeBron James On Kobe Bryant: ‘I Wanted To Be Just Like Him’

Since Kobe Bryant announced this will be his final NBA season on Sunday, current and former players have praised what the Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard has accomplished in his 20 seasons.

With the Lakers embarking on an eight-game road trip, they will first face the Philadelphia 76ers. After years of being booed by his hometown during the 2001 NBA Finals and 2002 NBA All-Star Game, Kobe is expected to get a warm reception.

Prior to the Lakers-Sixers game, Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James was asked about how much Kobe has meant to him, according to Allie Clifton of Fox Sports Ohio:

In addition, LeBron shares he used Kobe as his motivation throughout his career:

While there were big men who came into the NBA straight out of high school, Kobe was the first guard to make the jump. His decision inspired others throughout the years like LeBron and there is mutual respect between the two.

Although there have been fierce battles between the two superstars during the regular season, they have unfortunately never met in the NBA Finals. Since 2007, one of them has made an appearance and have won two championships each during this stretch.

With LeBron having an opportunity to win championships in Cleveland, Kobe is looking to remain relatively healthy and mentor the young core of D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson. Although Kobe has always wanted to tie Michael Jordan with six championships, playing for one franchise is a rare accomplishment in sports.

Just have never seen the same fire in his eyes as Kobe’s.

  • Oh he has had it last few finals n playoffs. He learned I guess from kobe scorning him for not taking the last shot on that allstar game. He’s mostly been let down by teammates last couple of finals but he definitely grew from his chocking years. No one doubts his killer instinct now.

  • Hope some of the disrespectful punks on here learn something from LeBron and Durant’s comments on what Kobe has meant to them and the game. You notice no words of negativity or how he’s playing now on his last legs. Nothing but high respect from maybe 2 of the 3 greatest players today. But yet we have nobody losers on here who got cut from high school jv who think they have the credentials to disrespect an nba Legend and icon. Smh at these trash idiots

  • I’m a Laker fan and I’m old school. I
    appreciated how the Lakers took care of Magic. How they honored Kareem
    and Shaq with statues. They honored Kobe with giving him that last
    contract. Not for what he would do but for what he has already done for
    the organization. Lakers take care of their own and that is why they are
    my favorite pro sports organization. Kobe is a Laker and it doesn’t
    matter what the media says or any of the haters say. He belongs to us.
    We love him and he’s apart of Laker Lore. His jersey will hang from the
    rafters along side. Chamberlin, West, Johnson, Jabbar, Baylor, Goodrich,
    Worthy and O’Neal. Even if he never makes another shot he’s already a
    Laker Legend.

  • He’s got a fire, but not the same as Kobe’s. I do consider Lebron a better overall athlete, but to me, Kobe was more skilled and more ruthless, too.

  • They didn’t ask Lebron about how he’s playing now, they asked him his reaction to the announcement. Lebron chose to address what he’s meant to him overall. Most people on here love and appreciate Kobe, but pointing out that he has been a source of frustration lately is justified. When it’s all said and done, this season and the last couple will be a blip in comparison to his entire incredible career. Unfortunately, we’re still in the middle of that blip, and as Laker fans, not just Kobe fans, it hurts. That said, I’m sure even the most diehard Kobe fan had to have some sense of relief with the announcement, knowing that he has accepted that the end is here.

  • That’s what kills me, the level of disrespect and forgetting, not only what this man has done for the Lakers, but what he represents for the league. Kevin Durant, Lebron, and others can see that. I can imagine that some of them (the fans) pushed grandma out of the way to get to the turkey. After all, what does she still contribute?

    Not to compare Kobe to an old person, but he’s 37 yrs old, and a professional athlete. It’s a young man’s game, but try to accord an old “warrior” his dignity. Yes, I know it inconvenience for some fans here. But, newsflash, even without Kobe, the Lakers stink!

    The youngsters, waiting longer, watching, learning is not going to hurt them. If anything, this is a good lesson for them. They may hear the cheering now, but don’t get caught up in it. Just remember how they treated Kobe…

  • Howard said Kobe welcome him to the NBA by Posterizing Him….instead of Shaking his Hand…LOL

  • Kobe 5 championships Michael 6 championships Bill Russell 11 championships.
    even if Kobe won 1 more he wouldnt even have half of big bill’s total.
    so who cares?
    i would rather play 20 or 21 years for just 1 team and be the most loyal player ever.
    thats 1 stat that cant be counted and i really dont care about stats.
    guys like Larry Nance Jr. wont put huge numbers neither will MWP or Roy Hibbert..
    but they all affect the game in a huge way, numbers simply dont show.
    sometimes numbers are useless and Kobe’s loyalty proves just that…..
    3rd on the all time scoring list? who cares.
    20 freakin years with only one team…..
    an NBA record the only player to ever do it.
    Good job Kobe!
    retire in style brotha and i really hope you enjoy your money!
    you deserve every penny.

  • lebron dominates a weak east coast.
    Kobe on the other hand always had good competition in the west.
    from allen iverson tmac vince carter dirk tim duncan kevin durant on and on and on…….

  • better athlete/jump higher? lebron.
    more skills/talent? Kobe.
    bigger body/ more muscle? lebron.
    better shooter/clutch? Kobe.

  • actually he put his balls in his face.
    and im happy he did.
    dwight turned out to be a real Ahole.
    im glad he tbag’d him.

  • You can’t hold it against Kobe that the same mentality that’s caused him to believe he can still play on a high level is the exact same mentality that’s got us 5 championships on his watch. Like he said, mentally he thought he could still do it but his body is no longer able. It really didn’t take him that many games to come to grips with it being only 13-14 games in. For any fan to moan about it on a disrespectful level after all he’s given to the organization is not justified, it’s ungrateful is what it is.

  • man i wish these other so-called fans had half the brains that you have!
    your momma must be so proud of you! lol.
    and your grandma too haha…
    great comment man really i wish i could thumbs it like 1000x

  • This is why I always preface my complaints with “You’re one of the greatest ever, but….” lol

  • some of you arent the problem.
    and it aint you…. but listen man there is alot of other fans here who bash Kobe’s good name on a daily basis.
    they sit here and try to tarnish his reputation just bc of a few bad shooting nights 1/14 for example.
    these fans are the ultimate idiots nothing more nothing less.
    they think they have some kind of say or power over what Kobe will or wont do.
    so they can talk all the smack they want, it wont change anything just make themself look like jealous haters.
    there has to be reasons why they all hate Kobe and how successful he has been? not sure which though?
    20 years and how many NBA records? i think i stopped counting like 5 years ago! i ran out of paper

  • Yup, that 2007 Cavs team that went to the Finals would not have even gotten out of the first round in the West.

  • lebron is in the finals on miami or cleveland bc the easy is just too easy.
    the west is definately much harder and we have much more talent in the rosters.
    not many east teams make me afraid.
    but some in the west you better be ready bc you already know whats coming when you play teams like spurs OKC memphis ect…

  • Better athlete and more talented? Bron
    Skillful, killer instincts and passion? Kobe

    no hate on lebron, I just dont see him in the top 5 with Kobe tho bron is locked as top 10 all time

  • dude, there is Drummond,Whiteside,Noah,Pau,Horford,Big Al available in the market….cmon man

  • I know it’s past already but I think lakers would have been in a better situation now if Lakers signed Melo(Pau said he will stay as a laker if they got melo) with Randle,JC and Ed davis while having Luke as a coach

  • Does he really have to play 30 mins a game though? This is officially an exhibition/farewell tour. If he played 12 mins a night, maybe 20 the most, fans across the country get to see him every game and more likely he does well in those minutes. He’s bringing his career percentages down and it’s just tough to watch. The team, Kobe, and the fans, are not benefitting from these performances.

  • Is it really the same mentality though? The Kobe I know wouldn’t be laughing at himself after an air ball.

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