Jimmy Butler offered baskets to every teammate20 April 2020 / Miguel Coelho
The 30-year-old didn't want his teammates to remain rusty... So he gifted them baskets
From an off-court perspective, LeBron James and Kobe Bryant were always viewed as rivals from the majority of their respective fanbases. Some said that James was the second coming of Michael Jordan, backing it up by sharing all the records he broke or he’s about to break, while others insisted that Bryant’s similar style and his five championship rings, brought him to the same pedestal as the former Chicago Bulls legend.
Fast forward to now, and you’ve got LeBron James wearing the Lakers purple and gold, currently on a mission to bring the franchise their championship banner #17. While you could argue that both fanbases were a toxic place to discuss this matter a few years ago, they did seem to come to terms with how great these two players are. Is it because Kobe’s retired and doesn’t stand as opposition to their favorite player anymore? Or is it because Lakers fans see LeBron rocking their team’s gear everyday, beating almost everyone that stands in his way? That’s an answer we’ll never know for sure, and that’s alright as long as they appreciate the greatness displayed night in and night out.
We already knew about the public opinion of each fanbase about these two legends. But were they this disrespectful towards each other? Absolutely not. What’s even more mind blowing is that actually, they’ve always said great things about one another.
LeBron James on Kobe Bryant:
“Just being a competitor, he took me to that next level, and understanding how important competition is and just have a willingness to never die,” James said. “You may lose a game, but you’re always going to win every battle or win the war. You get that all from Kobe, just competing against him every year.”
“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 Bryant on LeBron James:
"I think the player that would fit with me the most, I actually think would be LeBron," he told UConn's famed women's basketball coach. "He's a passer first, I'm a scorer, I'm a finisher. 'Bron is a facilitator by nature and I'm a finisher by nature. Those two styles, I think complement each other extremely well."
"I think his greatest strength is his ability to communicate with others and instill confidence in others," Bryant said. "He has a very big personality and one of the things I noticed about him, playing with him on the Olympic team, is his ability to communicate with others, get the best out of others and challenge them in a very gregarious way. It’s one of the things I’ve always admired about him."
During yesterday’s beatdown against the Atlanta Hawks, Kobe Bryant made a rare appearance at Staples Center to cheer on his former team. In probably the biggest standing ovation of the night, the fans deservedly greeted Bryant as he walked down the court to his front row seat alongside his daughter Gianna. One of the moments of the night, including many highlights from alley-ops and putback slams, was the tender handshake between two of the greatest players to ever step foot on a basketball court.
Meanwhile, hopes are high in Laker Land. Frank Vogel’s team keeps steamrolling through everyone, even though the schedule has been quite easy to start the season, one could have expected a slow start to a fairly new assembled squad. But when you have someone called LeBron James on your team, anything’s possible. The almost 35-year-old (!) is grabbing the league by the neck, after multiple analysts and players claim that his throne as the best player in the NBA had come to an end.
Lakers main opposition to the Larry O’Brien trophy are from the same town as well. Kawhi Leonard and Paul George will have a word to say in April, come playoff time, but as it looks like they’ll have a hard time stopping LeBron and Anthony Davis. With championship titles in Miami and Cleveland, James could write an incredible story here with the Lakers if he wins it all. Is he going to be able to do it? The path is hard but the odds are in his favour for one of the few times in his career.
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