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NBA: Can LeBron topple the Kobe legacy in Los Angeles?

417   //    02 Oct 2018, 18:23 IST

Denver Nuggets v Los Angeles Lakers
Denver Nuggets v Los Angeles Lakers

Although it’s still too early to tell, the search for the greater Los Angeles Lakers legacy is brewing between early frontrunner Kobe Bryant and the newest Laker LeBron James.

What would it take to prove that 23 is greater than 24?

LeBron must make Los Angeles his last stop and retire as a Laker. He won’t need to score at least 60 points in his last NBA game. He just needs to be wearing a Laker jersey to have a crack at matching the colorful career of Kobe Bryant. Towards the tail-end of his present contract, James must be signing a multi-year extension with the Lakers to ensure that he would be remembered more as a Laker than a Heat or a Cavalier.

For a great player who won’t settle for less, LeBron will surely not entertain thoughts of wearing another NBA uniform if he succeeds in reviving a winning culture in LA.

LeBron must add at least three more banners in the Staples Center ceiling. With the way the balance in the league is heavily tilted on Golden State Warriors’ side, winning a title for his new franchise is definitely not a walk in the park for James.

But for LeBron to be mentioned in the same breath as Kobe in all-time-Laker-greats conversations, he must translate his domination into titles for Los Angeles. There is no need to match the five championship rings of Bryant given the fact that James, as great as he is in defeating father time in the early rounds, arguably has only a few good years left in his stock.

Every NBA crown that the King could give the Lakers at this point is comparatively worthier than any title won by any Laker in the past. For LeBron to equalize or even surpass Kobe’s LA feats, the King must reign in the West for the majority of his stints and that means dismantling the dynasty in Golden State.

LeBron must win an MVP as a Laker. Not a few basketball minds have contended that with his supreme basketball skills and dominance as the best player in the planet pound for pound year after year, James should have easily won the award more often than the number of times he was able to lead his team to the Finals.

But the people who cast their MVP ballots must have gotten used to his greatness which has become a regular thing season after season that a breakout year of another player even if it pales in comparison would earn their nods. With that trend, as worthy as he is, James would find it a little harder to win that individual honor once more. And that makes winning another MVP a plus factor for his legacy as a Laker.

The premature comparison should not create a rift between the millions of diehards from both camps, but instead, it augurs well for the Purple and Gold legions as it would add some more glitters to the bright lights of this Los Angeles NBA franchise.