How the Legend of Kobe ‘Bean’ Bryant Inspires LeBron James and the Lakers!
For millions of Kobe Bryant and Los Angeles Lakers fans, there’s no doubt the Black Mamba somehow watched over and inspired the team’s successful quest for their 17th NBA championship in the bubble in Orlando, Florida.
Nor is there any question Kobe’s Mamba Mentality and iconic Lakers’ legacy was passed to LeBron a year ago today when Bryant, his daughter Gigi, and seven others perished in the tragic helicopter crash in Southern California. Bryant’s ghost has been hovering over and driving the Lakers’ greatness from the moment LeBron took the leadership mantle from Kobe a year ago to the ‘Mamba on Three’ cheer the team still uses to break every huddle.
You can see it in the way every single roster move Kobe’s agent and best friend Rob Pelinka makes seems to be golden and every major strategic adjustment head coach Frank Vogel makes seems to be work out perfectly. The Lakers are on a roll. Coming off a dominating championship run that overcame unprecedented challenges, the Lakers look poised not only to repeat but also to position themselves for another championship dynasty.
The Lakers are and will always be Kobe Bryant’s team and that’s a legacy LeBron James has full heartedly embraced, still wearing Mamba’s number 24 on his left ring finger for every game for the year after Kobe’s tragic passing. While LeBron’s never struggled to find reasons to self motivate, his love and respect for Kobe and everything he meant to the Lakers and the game of basketball is straight from the heart and not just another motivational ploy.
There will always be something mystical and celestial about how the torch of Lakers’ basketball greatness was passed from Kobe Bryant to LeBron James at Staples last January as if it were a scene from the movie Heaven Can Wait. Maybe it’s just coincidence but it’s hard not to imagine the basketball gods balancing the scales and infusing the spirit of Kobe Bryant into the heart and soul of LeBron James and telling Father Time to wait a few years.
How else can you explain how a 36-year old, 17-year veteran like LeBron James, who has played in 1,283 regular season and 260 playoff games, can continue to be the best player on the planet and leading MVP candidate? What’s even more surprising and unbelievable is LeBron may even be better right now than any time in his long career. He’s currently on pace to enjoy the best season in his illustrious career shooting the three-ball at 41.2%.
Last night, we saw King James go off for 46 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists, 7 threes, 2 steals, and 2 blocks in leading the Lakers to a 115–108 road win in his first visit to Cleveland since donning the purple and gold two years ago. This followed superstar teammate Anthony Davis’ scintillating 37 point, 6 rebound, 3 assist, 2 steal, and 1 block game in Saturday night’s game in his hometown Chicago as the Lakers bulldozed the hapless Bulls 101–90.
Tomorrow night, the Lakers seek to remain undefeated and win their 11th game on the road in a statement matchup against Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and the 76ers in Philadelphia, the hometown of the late great Kobe Bryant. Look for LeBron James to do something special to honor Kobe Bryant, like wearing a Lower Merion #33 jersey when he walks into Wells Fargo Center. The Lakers won’t forget that Philadelphia is Kobe Bryant’s hometown.
Games like tomorrow night’s against the Sixers are the games LeBron James and Anthony Davis mark on their calendars. Expect the Lakers to bring their A-game and the legacy of Kobe Bryant to inspire them to pull off the win.
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