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LeBron James And Kobe Bryant In 2009: 'There Is A Mutual Respect That We Have For Each Other'

(via Diario AS)

(via Diario AS)

While Kobe Bryant's fans always try to make the case for the Mamba as a better player than LeBron James, and LeBron James' fans do the same with Kobe, these two players always had love for each other during the time they spent together in the NBA. Kobe and Bron were like brothers, even though we found out about it when the latter joined the Lakers two years ago.

Fans always thought of them both as big rivals, as enemies, but that was never the case. As a matter of fact, back in 2009, when Bron was still chasing his first ring and Kobe was en route to win his fourth (and first without Shaq), they sat down for an interview with ESPN, where they revealed juicy details about their relationship.

First, they talked about each other's strengths and how that made them the big stars they were at the time.

"We both have the same passion, we just show it in different ways," Kobe said at one point. "He [LeBron] takes off like he's jumping off a trampoline over one layer. It's the most ridiculous takeoff I've seen. It's crazy."

"His mid-range jumper is by far one of the best that we have, if not the best that we have," LeBron said of Kobe at that time. "Two dribbles, pump fake, reverse, spin, shot. Y'all watch."

Kobe then explained how much they respected each other and how that drove them to be able to compete between them at the maximum level.

Kobe: There is a mutual respect that we have for one another. It's that level of respect that enables us to perform at a high level.

LeBron: Automatically it makes you better.

Kobe: I'd be disrespecting LeBron if I didn't compete and go hard on him.

LeBron: Making each other better it's a respect factor that we have for each other but I thought at the end of the day, we're all ultimate competitors.

That was the year we were close to seeing a LeBron-Kobe Finals matchup until Dwight Howard told otherwise, beat the Cavaliers and took his Orlando Magic to the biggest series of all, where Kobe and his Lakers dismantled them, winning the championship in five games.

If you're one of those people still trying to make LeBron look bad at the expense of Kobe, or vice versa, think twice because those guys had nothing but love and respect for each other.