LeBron is heading to Los Angeles to join the Lakers, but how will die-hard Kobe Bryant fans feel about this? Sure, there was some competition during their time together in the league, but it felt more like it was for show than anything else. Both were tremendous players in their own right. Yes, their respective fans are able to think or say whatever they want about the other player. But I wonder if it’s too much? Kobe’s fans can be extremely loyal and while that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it certainly can make things difficult for LeBron, Kobe thinks it will be fine. In fact, he thinks they will “fall in line”. But is that something they can do?
When LeBron announced his decision to join the Lakers early in free agency this past July, Kobe reached out to LeBron to welcome him to the Lakers family. He also wanted LeBron to know that if he needed anything, he was available for him. Which is kind of nice, don’t you think? It’s really nice, especially if these two had an alleged beef. While Kobe is extremely welcoming, after all, he just wants his team to do well. But not everyone in Los Angeles is rolling out the welcome mat. A few have chosen to express their feelings by defacing a couple of murals around the Los Angeles area, which feature LeBron as a Laker.
In an interview, Kobe was asked whether LeBron has to lead the Lakers back to a championship in order to be viewed in the same light as Kobe, who won five championships during his 20-year career with the franchise.
“I don’t know, making the comparison of him being viewed in the similar vein as me, that doesn’t make much sense. I think the goal is always to win championships. No matter where you go, that is the goal. And that is his goal, that is Rob’s [Pelinka] goal, that is Magic’s [Johnson] goal, Jeanie’s [Buss] goal, [Rajon] Rondo, all the guys, [Kyle] Kuzma, Lonzo [Ball], they all want to win championships. That is what they are gunning for. This is why we play. This is why we are here, is to win championships. He wouldn’t have come here if he didn’t expect to win championships.”
Let’s think about this for a minute though. Even if Kobe isn’t still playing basketball, why wouldn’t he want his team to succeed? The Lakers haven’t made the playoffs since 2013. LeBron joining the team definitely makes that an option in this season. It might be a bit of a long shot, given who is playing in the Western Conference, but if anyone can make that happen, it’s LeBron.
Back in July, Stephen A. Smith asked Kobe if LeBron had the “type of skin and character” to handle playing in Los Angeles. Kobe’s response was that LeBron has had everything thrown at him since he was in high school. Meaning – he will be able to handle it. LeBron is highly criticized. From leaving Cleveland to going to Miami. Then leaving Miami to go back to Cleveland, and now taking his talents to Los Angeles. Regardless of what he does, someone is going to criticize him. I’m happy to see that Kobe has got his back, and if they’re true Laker fans, they will welcome LeBron to the west coast.