LeBron James reacts to first time ever playing Kobe Bryant
The late, great Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant was truly an inspiration during his younger days. Being a guard to come straight out of High School, Bryant possessed swagger and confidence that influenced many young players. One of those players that were influenced was LeBron James. James, who came out of St. Vincent-St. Mary, always credited Bryant for influencing him to go straight to the NBA.
Throughout the years, James and Bryant had numerous battles that made us jump out of our couches. The two competitive forces always made sure to bring their best when going up against one another as one face of the NBA meeting another. It seems as if out of all of the head to head matchups, the one James seems to admire the most is the first matchup in 2004, when Kobe’s Lakers faced off against James as a young Cavalier.
LeBron on what he remembers from the first time he played Kobe: "I was just in awe. It's a guy who along with a lot of other guys that was on my wall. … He had a nice collage on my wall."
— Ryan Ward (@RyanWardLA) January 22, 2021
It was certainly a mind blowing first matchup for LeBron James. Going up against his idol growing up, he certainly wanted to soak in every second of the moment going head to head with Bryant. Although the Lakers icon went out the game early with a shoulder injury, the two made up for the first matchup many years later.
Although James had the edge in head to head matchups, it doesn’t take away the inspiration that he learned from Kobe Bryant though the years. James made sure to learn new approaches from Bryant, which helped him win four championships later on. Even after Bryant’s passing, James still manages to find inspiration every day from the Lakers legend.
LeBron James will continue to life the Lakers’ mantle this season in his quest for a repeat.