LA Lakers talisman LeBron James recently shared a throwback picture with team legend Kobe Bryant on his Instagram story. The picture shared by James was clicked 18 years ago. It features him and Bryant sitting on the sidelines during an NBA game between the Lakers and Cleveland Cavaliers.
Here's the post (via Complex):
LeBron James came into the NBA at the time Kobe Bryant was dominating the league. Like many, James looked up to Kobe and considered him an idol during his initial years as a professional basketball player.
When LeBron entered the prime years of his career, he, along with Kobe, was considered among the biggest stars in the sport. The duo produced some great duels in the late 2000s and early 2010s.
LeBron James' Cavaliers and Miami Heat dominated the Eastern Conference, while Kobe Bryant was leading the charge for the Lakers in the West. They never squared off in an NBA Finals, though.
Can LeBron James help LA Lakers turn their poor record around in the second half of the campaign?
LeBron James is comfortably the biggest star to play for the LA Lakers since the late Kobe Bryant's retirement. James also led the team to their first championship win of the post-Kobe era in 2020. The Lakers tied the Boston Celtics for the most championships (17) in NBA history with that run.
James was named the NBA Finals MVP that year. The LA Lakers failed to replicate their success the following season. They had to deal with injuries to LeBron and Anthony Davis for most of the campaign, which led to their first-round exit against the Phoenix Suns.
The LA Lakers assembled one of the most star-studded rosters in the NBA this past offseason. They added the likes of Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony and Dwight Howard to their ranks in the hope of winning a record 18th NBA title. However, not everything has gone according to their expectations so far.
The LA Lakers have won only half of their first 42 games of the campaign. LeBron James continues to be the lone bright spot for the team. The 37-year-old is averaging 29.1 points, 7.4 rebounds and 6.6 assists per game. But that hasn't been enough to lead the Lakers to a successful record.
Westbrook has struggled the most. The 2017 MVP has managed only 18.7 points on 43% shooting from the field. Meanwhile, the team's third star, Anthony Davis, is on the sidelines because of an MCL injury he sustained last month. Even when he was active, AD was struggling to perform to his potential.
The former Pelicans big is averaging 23.3 points and 9.9 rebounds for the season. With his two co-stars misfiring, LeBron James will have to continue to perform the way he has so far. If he can find a way to integrate Westbrook into the LA Lakers set-up in a better way, the Lakeshow will likely perform much better in the second half of the campaign.