Not everyone in Los Angeles was receptive to LeBron James’ arrival. As the first generational superstar to arrive in LA since Kobe Bryant, many were not yet sold that LeBron would be the one to lead them to the promised land.
But now, in the aftermath of helping the Lakers win their 17th Championship, LeBron has earned his place among the greatest Lakers ever.
Speaking to David Aldridge of The Athletic, current Lakers assistant coach Phil Handy pointed out some of the similarities James has with another Lakers All-Time great: Kobe Bean Bryant.
“Everybody knows Kob and ‘Bron are different guys, personality-wise,” Handy said. “But their work ethic, and their approach to the game, is identical. The way they study their opponents. The way that they break down their own games. The way that they take care of their bodies off the floor. Just the time spent in terms of wanting to be at the top and wanting to compete, they’re exactly the same in that regard. There are so many similarities in just their Alpha mentality, their competitive spirit, and then their confidence.
“Like, people always question ‘Bron sometimes for whatever decisions he makes, but he’s always been a guy that’s tried to make the right basketball play. (But) being confident? His confidence? His, being around him and Kob, there’s no lack of confidence from either one of those dudes, on anything they can’t do on the floor.”
Obviously, people criticize LeBron for his lack of a “killer mentality,” which is something that Kobe was famous for having during his NBA career. Bryant was an assassin, a killer on the court who treated each game like get was going to war. LeBron, on the other hand, seems to be much more passive in his behavior and even befriends a lot of the guys he goes up against.
But, according to Handy, James and Kobe have the same heart to win and work hard to ensure they’re the best of themselves. They have both gotten pretty positive results.
Needless to say, there will always be some controversy in regards to LeBron and how he shapes up against the best Lakers ever. At the very least, we can appreciate both and the similarities they both share as superstars on the highest level.