It has been more than six months since Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant tragically passed away, but his memory is still as fresh as ever in the minds of fans, loved ones, and LeBron James.
Although so much has happened since Kobe’s passing that has turned the world upside down, the Lakers are keeping his memory alive and well during their time in the NBA bubble. The team routinely ends practice with “1-2-3 MAMBA!” and keeps the motivating drive of winning a title in honor of the Hall of Famer that meant so much to this franchise and to the game of basketball.
On Monday, LeBron was asked about the “MAMBA!” chant that ends practices and Kobe’s ongoing importance to what the team is trying to accomplish. James admits the Lakers franchise wouldn’t be what it is without Bryant and how he’s impacted the game and its fans.
“The Lakers franchise isn’t what it is today without Kobe’s presence,” LeBron said. “Kobe’s presence, his legacy, you put on purple and gold, you put on Laker apparel you think about basketball in general even before I became a Laker his legacy was cemented.
“I had the opportunity to play with him not only in All-Star games but with the Olympic team multiple times. If you are a ballplayer, if you like the game, if you play the game, even if you don’t play the game just as a fan, there’s no way that you can’t think about Kobe on a day-to-day basis.”
The Lakers have one mission when they resume the 2019-20 campaign on Thursday against the L.A. Clippers. The storied franchise is determined to win a 17th title in the team’s history, which is ironically a decade after Kobe led the team to the second of back-to-back titles alongside Pau Gasol.
The Milwaukee Bucks, Clippers, and Lakers are considered to be the teams to beat in the NBA bubble. LeBron and Anthony Davis hoping to get the best of the competition in the upcoming playoffs to not only add to their legacies but honor the player that helped lead the Lakers to five titles during his illustrious career.