Kobe Bryant once dropped bold message to fans unhappy with LeBron James joining Lakers

There is no denying the enduring legacy that both Kobe Bryant and LeBron James have left in the archives of NBA history. As the debate over who reigns supreme in basketball talent still lingers, it is unquestionable that both players have made substantial contributions to the Los Angeles Lakers franchise.

But before any of this greatness was even discussed, there was definitely a sense of coldness between Kobe and LeBron’s fans, to which Kobe once had a few words to say. And while Kobe Bryant had delivered a bold message to those feeling discontented about LeBron’s arrival, things may have been different for LeBron James.

Bryant’s powerful words for fans criticizing LeBron’s Lakers move

Kobe Bryant, an iconic figure in Lakers and NBA history, once publicly addressed the fans who were unhappy with LeBron James joining the team.

Recognizing the rivalry between their supporters, Bryant emphasized that being a fan means supporting the team and its quest for championships. In an interview on the Rich Eisen Show, he candidly acknowledged that not everyone favored James’ arrival and admitted, saying “I hear that, ” that he had heard about the criticism from some of his own fans.

However, Bryant made it clear that his loyalty to the Lakers surpassed any personal feelings, that winning, and the spirit of the Lakers were the ultimate priorities, and that he had been a fan of the team since a young age.

“But listen, if you are fan of mine, you are a fan of winning, you are a fan of the Lakers. I bleed purple and gold. So, that is above anything else.”

But he even reached out personally to LeBron James following the announcement of his signing and welcomed him into the Lakers family, offering his full support adding, “It is about winning championships. So they’ll fall in line.”

LeBron James and Kobe Bryant
Via Olympics

LeBron and Kobe’s rivalry was imminent, and even after LeBron James joined the Lakers, things weren’t as expected. Nevertheless, despite the big move, a peculiar situation unfolded within a faction of Lakers fans known as the Mamba Army, which historically harbored animosity towards LeBron James.

While they found themselves grappling with the uncomfortable reality that their long-time nemesis had become the face of the franchise, some fans expressed their mixed emotions, quite contrary to what a new player would expect upon his arrival at a new team.

As the Lakers continue to move forward as a powerhouse, things may have calmed on LeBron’s side over the years. Nonetheless, while Bryant’s message to his fans was clear, who knew that LeBron’s arrival to the LA side would be what could only be said as “The Bargain of the Century”.

What led LeBron James to Lakers?

In July 2018, LeBron James announced that he would join the Lakers early in the free agency window, a decision that took the basketball world by storm. After averaging 26.1 points, 8.0 assists and 7.7 rebounds in 301 games for the Cavilers in his second spell there, it was imminent that King James was ready for a new chapter in his career – Los Angeles Lakers.

LeBron James later revealed the reasoning behind his move to the Lakers, saying, “I definitely thought long and hard about the possibilities of lining up alongside Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid or lining up aside James Harden and Chris Paul.” However, it was more than just the opportunities with other players that influenced his decision.

From a business and post-career perspective, joining the Lakers in Los Angeles presented unparalleled advantages as the city offered exposure, proximity to decision-makers, and opportunities for growth and learning. LeBron James also understood that he was approaching the end of his career and wanted to position himself where he could maximize his net worth.

LeBron James
Via SB Nation

Beyond the professional benefits, moving to LA also had a positive impact on LeBron James’ family. In Cleveland, they felt constantly scrutinized and unable to enjoy the normalcy that other families experienced. And while Los Angeles would provide them with a level of privacy even amidst the bustling paparazzi culture, they were also able to immerse themselves in a community of high-profile individuals.

Since joining the Lakers, LeBron James has continued to dominate on the court, proving himself worthy of every penny the team invested in him. With one championship under his belt with the Lakers and winning the newly introduced In-Season Tournament, fans have embraced the presence of the King in their team and hope he continues to dominate on the court repping the iconic team’s jersey.

Sami Haider

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Sami Haider is an NBA writer at SportsKnot. His foray into basketball scriptwriting started in 2020, when he was enthralled by the Los Angeles Lakers' NBA championship victory. His previous experience was limited to dribbling and dunking as a neighborhood kid. His insightful writings show how much he loves the sport. His writing goes beyond numbers and scores, giving readers a unique viewpoint on the players, teams, and events that define the basketball scene. Whether you're a die-hard fan or a casual observer, Sami's work is essential for anybody trying to expand their knowledge and love of the NBA.


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