How Kobe Bryant Impacted LeBron James’ Career Right From His High-School Days

Published 03/09/2021, 5:30 PM EST
Lakers’ Kobe Bryant, right, and Cleveland Cavaliers’ LeBron James have their game face on as they guard each other in the fourth quarter at the Staples Center in Los Angeles Sunday, Jan. 27, 2008. Lakers lost 98–95. LeBron James scored 14 of his 41 points in the fourth quarter. Kobe Bryant finished with 33 points. (Photo by Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images) | Courtesy: Getty Images


The Los Angeles Lakers signed LeBron James in 2018, two years after Kobe Bryant retired. After a successful tenure with the Cavs and the Heat, LeBron arrived to continue Kobe’s legacy at LA.

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While they might have been rivals when they faced off, LeBron learnt a lot from Kobe while growing up. After LeBron joined the Lakers, he spoke about how it started when he attended the ABCD camp. Kobe was also there and spoke to those young high-schoolers. A young LeBron spoke about how he wanted to be like Kobe and win championships and become an All-Star.

LeBron also narrates how Kobe taught him there was no substitution for hard work. He also reveals that Kobe gave him his shoes before the 2002 All-Star game. Despite being a size bigger, he still wore those shoes during his next game.

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LeBron James talks about how he learned from Kobe Bryant overcoming his failures

After talking about how Kobe’s accomplishments motivated him, LeBron also spoke about how Kobe’s ability to get back up after his failures was inspirational. Before he became one of the most clutch players of all-time, a rookie Kobe struggled against the Jazz in a playoff series.

It was Game 5 of the Western Conference Semi-finals, and the game was tight. Including the fourth quarter and overtime, the 18-year-old shot four air balls. That led to the Lakers crashing out, and the young rookie facing criticism. In the following two postseasons, Kobe didn’t find much success either.

But in his fourth season, he stepped up as their second-best player by Shaquille O’Neal and took them to the title. This comeback inspired millions including young LeBron.

Dream comes true for LeBron with Team USA union with Kobe

After years of watching and idolizing Kobe, LeBron finally got his chance to play alongside Kobe in 2008 for Team USA’s Redeem Team. “It was a dream come true for me to be able to lineup alongside him,” is how he described the moment.

NEW YORK – JUNE 30: Jason Kidd, Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James attend the U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball Team unveiling of their new team look to fans at the Water Club and Rockefeller Center on June 30, 2008 in New York City. (Photo by Johnny Nunez/WireImage)

The 23-year-old LeBron played under team captain Kobe, as they won the 2008 Olympics gold medal. They got another chance to team up four years later with Team USA once again as they successfully won the 2012 Olympics gold medal in London.

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They never got to team up in the NBA, and that was as close as it got. After Kobe’s passing in January 2020, LeBron took the Lakers to the 2020 NBA title, in what was a perfect tribute for the late legend. It was an emotional time for LeBron, who is definitely making his idol proud now with his performances in LA.

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Aaron Mathew

1655 articles

Aaron Mathew is a sports analyst at EssentiallySports. A graduate in Mass Media from Xavier’s College, Aaron has been a part of EssentiallySports since May 2020 where he covers both NBA and NCAA basketball news, and has also covered NBA 2K. In the past, Aaron has worked at the Sports Desk of Mumbai Mirror.

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