It’s official. LeBron James is now a member of the Los Angeles Lakers after signing a four-year, $153 million deal. If there is one person who is very happy with the Lakers’ biggest acquisition, it’s no other than NBA legend Kobe Bryant. The five-time NBA champion is definitely aware of what James could bring in the city of Los Angeles.
Having LeBron James on the team gives the Lakers the opportunity to become a relevant team in the Western Conference once again. In a recent appearance on ESPN’s The Jump, Kobe Bryant congratulated Lakers President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson and General Manager Rob Pelinka for a job well done. Bryant went as far as saying that Johnson deserves a second statue after successfully acquiring James.
When he first heard the news, Bryant said that he laughed and shooked his head while sharing the moment with Pelinka, whom he called an “absolute beast.” The Lakers legend also revealed that he called LeBron James and welcomed him to the Lakers family.
“Yeah, yeah, I talked to him yesterday (Sunday, July 1) and just told him ‘Welcome, man.’ It’s crazy because we’ve played together on several Olympic teams and have been around each other for All-Star games and things of that nature and have always talked about getting together and working out and doing that sort of stuff, but it never ever really materialized because I have all my stuff going on here in L.A., and he was doing his thing in Cleveland and Miami,” Bryant said (h/t NBA.com).
Now that LeBron James is officially a Laker, Kobe Bryant said he’s very much willing to give him whatever help he needs like what Lakers legends Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar did to him when he first joined the team. Regarding his expectations, Bryant has a strong belief that the Lakers will be back in the Western Conference Playoffs next season.
However, as of now, it remains a big question if the Lakers can fully dominate the Western Conference and beat powerhouse teams like the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets in a best-of-seven series. The Lakers may have acquired the best basketball player on the planet, but they are yet to add another superstar to play alongside LeBron next season. However, Bryant believes that James fully understands that the Lakers organization is all about winning an NBA championship title, adding that LeBron is not afraid to face the next biggest challenge of his life.