For Los Angeles Lakers fans who grew up watching Kobe Bryant clash with LeBron James on the hardwood, it might seem strange to see the latter don the purple and gold.
As the former rivals now share the same sports fraternity, the legendary Laker is recommending that Lakers fans–conditioned to rooting against LeBron–embrace his presence with the organization.
“If you are fan of mine, you are a fan of winning, you are a fan of the Lakers. I bleed purple and gold. So, that is above anything else,” Kobe said recently in a radio interview. “I have been a Lakers fan since I was yay high. That is never going to change. Right? [It] is about winning championships. So, they'll fall in line."
Kobe added that LeBron came to the Lakers to win championships, which is something fans should appreciate–not denigrate.
In addition, Kobe and LeBron play have played different styles throughout their storied careers. LeBron compares more favorably to Magic Johnson–his new boss–while Kobe’s style was a better complement of Michael Jordan.
Even though the adjustment period might be difficult for some fans, LeBron’s impact on the younger players–namely Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, Josh Hart, and Lonzo Ball–will likely turn him into a fan favorite. LeBron’s presence and passing ability should only further the growth of the young Lakers’ core, which is part of the reason for next season’s optimism.
The Lakers will open the regular season on Oct. 18 on the road against the Portland Trail Blazers. They will host their season opener at Staples Center two nights later against the Houston Rockets.
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