According to some fans of the Los Angeles Lakers, LeBron James is now the greatest Laker to ever wear the uniform. But here’s the thing. How can people place him above the likes of Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaquille O’Neal or even Kobe Bryant?
I get it, James is the new “guy” in L.A. but still, how did people forget what Kobe Bryant did, not only for the NBA but the Lakers in general? LeBron is a talented player and has been in the GOAT discussion for years but this is Kobe we’re talking about. This is the guy who at the tender age of 18, decided he wanted to be the “guy” even with O’Neal already established in the league.
You can laugh at the three airballs he shot against the Utah Jazz. But then you have to take notice of the five NBA championships he brought the city. There was no need to switch teams, he earned his in the same uniform and in the same city that took a chance on him. How can anyone part their lips or type that James has surpassed Kobe Bryant as the greatest Laker ever when he has not played a single regular season game for the organization?
LeBron Will Never Own The Los Angeles Lakers As Kobe Bryant Did
This is disrespectful. And for those Lakers’ fans caught up in the hype, you need to turn in your fan memberships. This is not even up for debate. If LeBron wins one title for the Lakers, it’s still not up for debate. Pau Gasol is a better Laker than LeBon James at this point and so is Derek Fisher, Robert Horry, and countless others. What LeBron has done before coming to Los Angeles has him on a high pedestal but it has always been the Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics, and then the rest of the NBA.
To be honest, LeBron has never played on a stage this big. Taking on pressure has never been one of James’ strong suits but this is what Kobe Bryant thrived on. The “moment” is what he looked for and how he had made his career. Let us not forget how the NBA tried to split the media and fans with a Kobe vs LeBron Finals for two years with advertisements. In the end, it was Kobe’s Lakers who did their part while LeBron’s Cavs had trouble beating the same Celtics team Kobe and his Lakers would defeat in the Finals.
Now, Lakers fans are rejoicing that the man they once hated for being compared to their God is now their savior. No. I’m sorry but things just don’t work that way. LeBron will begin his Lakers legacy with the weight of the world on his shoulders. What he’s doing is the equivalent of Kobe heading to Chicago at one point in his career. Anyone trying to fill the shoes of a living legend has to know the uphill battle ahead of him.
While LeBron James coming to Los Angeles may be due to family responsibilities, the lore of the Lakers is just too big to ignore. Still, he never went toe-to-toe with Kobe in the Finals so the next best thing was to try to pass him in Lakers’ history. It will take six rings to get that done and he just doesn’t have the time. When it’s all said and done, LeBron will head into the Hall of Fame as a Cavalier, not a Laker.
Kobe has earned the right to be mentioned as one of the Lakers’ greats. He’s put in his time, paid his dues, won and loss for this team and city.
Will LeBron be able to do the same for the Lakers? That remains to be seen. So, before anyone starts adding more murals over the city of Los Angeles, please know, LeBron can have any side-street portrait he wants. The city and the Los Angeles Lakers will always belong to Kobe Bryant.