In the next few weeks, LeBron James will surpass Kobe Bryant’s career scoring mark to become the third leading scorer in NBA history. It may be a bittersweet moment for some Lakers fans as they watch their current superstar overtake their former superstar, arguably the greatest player in Lakers history.
The relationship between James and Bryant had always been a bit awkward if only for their fans and the media instilling a rivalry between the two as a young James was deemed to be Bryant’s successor well before the latter hung it up.
But the two greats themselves have often seemed close or at least friendly which is why Bryant scoffed at the thought of not being happy for his former Team USA teammate, per the LA Times’ Bill Plaschke:
“When LeBron came to Los Angeles, he is now a Laker, he is part of our brotherhood, part of our fraternity, and we should embrace him that way,” he said.
“You got to celebrate … appreciate what he is as an athlete while he is here” he said. “Appreciate this guy, celebrate what he’s done, because it’s truly remarkable.”
“I’ll for sure call him and tell him congratulations,” Bryant said. “I’m so happy for ‘Bron, all he’s accomplished and continues to accomplish, he’s been great.”
LeBron is now just 80 points shy of tying Bryant, making it very likely that he’ll get there on the Lakers’ current five-game road trip which started with a win against the Rockets on Saturday. In fact, if James continues on his current scoring, he could surpass Bryant in his hometown of Philadelphia.
If it takes longer and James reaches the milestone in Los Angeles, Bryant says he would not go to the game in order to keep the focus on James’ accomplishment. Hopefully other Lakers and NBA fans approach it with the same mentality.