LeBron James and Kobe Bryant are the last two superstars the Los Angeles Lakers have had. Plenty of great players wore the purple and gold and everybody has left a mark on the team. However, these two are the most recent stars this team has had and the last two that took them to the championship. Kobe did it in 2010 while LeBron emulated his friend a couple of weeks ago, winning the 17th title in the Lakers history against the Miami Heat.
James and Bryant shared a lot of similarities, although their styles of play are very different. Yet, the way they approach the game is what makes them special and very similar. Lakers GM Rob Pelinka recently talked about this, stating that they are a similar mindset, an obsession when it comes to basketball.
“The one thing that is so clear about both Kobe and LeBron is that they’re maniacal about the game of basketball,” Pelinka said on The Woj Pod Podcast with ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
“What’s interesting about both LeBron and Kobe is that neither of them were satisfied or had a goal of scoring. Both LeBron and Kobe are about one thing, and that’s winning titles. The similarities in their approach of just being maniacal about doing whatever it takes to win championships is everything to both of those guys.
"Maybe they could have had more of a relationship if the tragedy of 1/26 didn’t occur but I’ve almost seen post 1/26, the relationship of Kobe and LeBron, in some sense obviously now more spiritual, being more powerful.”
Kobe Bryant retired in 2016 and everybody thought the Lakers were going to spend a lot of time wandering around before their rebuilding process could turn into something fruitful for them. Well, two years after Bryant left the game, LeBron James landed in Los Angeles and although his first season didn't go as he wished, the Lakers bounced back this year and won it all with LeBron James leading the way alongside Anthony Davis.
Kobe knew this team had the potential to be good and we could see him in attendance several times this season before he was killed in a tragic helicopter crash last January 26. The team even took that as an inspiration and this title was dedicated to the Black Mamba, who is a big part of the history of the franchise.