LeBron James has led the Lakers back to the NBA Finals for the first time in a decade.
The last guy to do that? Kobe Bryant, back in 2010, when the Lakers had to go seven games to beat Boston and collect Kobe’s fifth ring.
When LeBron first signed with the Lakers, he got a “welcome to the team” text from Kobe and they talked about setting up a dinner where Kobe could give LeBron the lay of the Los Angeles land, LeBron told Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. LeBron also said not having that meal is one of his regrets.
Due to the conflicting and chaotic schedules of each superstar, the two could never establish a firm date. Each time they came across one another, the meeting was brought up, but it kept getting put on the backburner.
It’s something that still bothers James to this day.
“Of course, you think there’s going to be time for us to get together and I understand that there are regrets in life, but I definitely wish I had that moment with him,” James told Yahoo Sports. “I do remember when I decided to come here, he sent me a text right away and said, ‘Welcome, brother. Welcome to the family.’ That was a special moment because at the time, Laker faithful wasn’t [fully in on me]. A lot of people were saying, ‘Well, we might not want LeBron at this point in his career,’ and, ‘Is he right? Is he going to get us back [to the Finals]?’ So to hear from him and get his stamp of approval, it meant a lot. I don’t ever question myself, but when it’s coming from Kobe, it definitely meant a lot.”
We’ve all been there, the friend you keep meaning to get together with but you’re busy, they’re busy, and it just never comes together. LeBron’s story, however, had a more tragic twist with Bryant’s death.
The Lakers talk about Kobe and his presence still being felt around the franchise and the city. Winning a title for him this year would seem fitting, and LeBron has the Lakers on the doorstep of doing just that.