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LeBron James Says Kobe Bryant Was An ‘Inspiration’ To Him

(via SB Nation)

(via SB Nation)

Growing up, LeBron James always had his eyes on the Purple and Gold. Specifically, it was Kobe Bryant who became an icon and an inspiration the young James, and now (as he wears a Lakers jersey of his own) he is getting a feel for what it's like being the face of a basketball empire.

(via Brendan Bowers of USA Today)

“My greatest Laker memory, probably the Western Conference Finals, Kobe got the ball up at the top. He hits Scottie Pippen with the left to right crossover and drives down the lane and threw the lob over to Shaq in the Staples Center and he dunked it right before Rasheed Wallace could touch the ball.

“In 2001, 2002, 2003, those were my high school years. Kobe Bryant was like an inspiration to me because he was a kid who went straight to the league from high school. If you look back at some of my pictures, I used to wear Kobe’s a lot. So I know the history of the Lakers.”

Kobe was an amazing, one of a kind type of athlete. The world hadn't seen anything quite like him in his prime.

Years later, LeBron would become a phenom as well -- and then join the Lakers in an attempt to carve his own place in the team's rich history. The three-peat, the dominance, the glamour; it made for big shoes to fill -- and nobody has quite filled them since the Kobe and Shaq days ended in the early 2000s.

Clearly, LeBron wants to experience some of that for himself. With Anthony Davis, and a roster full of talented role-players, he has a better chance to do it than most who have donned the infamous purple and gold.