LeBron James joined the Los Angeles Lakers in 2018. It was a grand move, as he was the first big superstar in the post-Kobe Bryant era.
After Bryant retired, the Lakers went into rebuild mode, hoping to build their team around a young core. Players like D’Angelo Russell, Brandon Ingram, and Lonzo Ball became the focal points.
As with any rebuild, the young stars did not immediately create results. And Lakers fans were starved for success since their 2010 NBA Championship.
Then everything changed when the LA-based outfit acquired LeBron James. James signed a four-year contract, coming off his 8th consecutive NBA Finals. At the time, however, many analysts criticized the move.
Many believed that James had come to the Lakers to see out the final years of his career and help expand his developing role in Hollywood. James had signed on as the star of Space Jam 2.
The first season at the Staples Center was a challenge. LeBron pushed the team to the fourth seed in the Western Conference, but a groin injury derailed their season and LeBron missed the Playoffs in a first after a long time. The critics thought they had been proven right.
LeBron James and Kobe Bryant – Special Relationship
Yet, 2 years after signing his contract, James brought the franchise their first championship in 10 years, overcoming the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals.
The one person who consistently showed faith in LeBron James was Kobe Bryant. Bryant and James had a special bond, due to the time they spent together during the 2008 Olympics. The now-famous ‘Redeem Team’ was where Kobe and LeBron truly became friends.
Bryant would often be seen at Lakers games, talking to James about basketball and a whole host of subjects. When critics questioned James’ ambition with the Lakers, Kobe stepped up and told them that James still has it and will deliver.
🐍👑 1 year ago today pic.twitter.com/E9kpt55Ae4
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) November 17, 2020
This moment from a November league game in 2019 is a true indicator of how special their bond was. James went over to Kobe and Gianna Bryant while they were taking in a Lakers game courtside as fans.
They shared a handshake and a warm embrace before James went to continue the game. While brief, the moment was a truly special one for Laker fans.
Bryant is the ultimate Lakers legend. And if LeBron James can deliver more championships, he could also become a legend in the eyes of LakerNation.
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