The 2019-20 NBA season has been a tough one. This especially became the case once the league suspended the season due to the coronavirus. It has also been a tough one for Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James. Despite having a remarkable year, like always, on the court, James has had to deal with Kobe Bryant’s death. Bryant’s death is, unfortunately, not the only death James has had to mourn this season, though.
James and the rest of the NBA have had to mourn Kobe Bryant
LeBron James and Kobe Bryant are two of the best basketball players of all-time. While they never played on the same team or against each other in the NBA Finals, they certainly had some battles in the regular season.
James now plays on Bryant’s former team, the Los Angeles Lakers, and while in a Lakers jersey, James passed Bryant for third on the NBA’s all-time scoring list on Jan. 25. The next day, however, Bryant died.
On Jan. 26, Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and seven other people died in a helicopter crash. The death was hard for the entire world, and it was definitely hard for James. In addition to saying a few words to honor Bryant before a Lakers home game, he also posted on his Instagram on Jan. 27.
“I’m Not Ready but here I go. Man I sitting here trying to write something for this post but every time I try I begin crying again just thinking about you, niece Gigi and the friendship/bond/brotherhood we had,” James wrote on his Instagram post, according to Bleacher Report. “I literally just heard your voice Sunday morning before I left Philly to head back to LA. Didn’t think for one bit in a million years that would be the last conversation we’d have.”LeBron James
Bryant’s death is still heartbreaking for everyone. It was, unfortunately, not the only death James has had to mourn this season.
Cleveland Cavaliers say goodbye to longtime play-by-play announcer
Fred McLeod was the play-by-play announcer for the Cleveland Cavaliers during much of LeBron James’ two stints there. He started calling Cleveland Cavaliers games for FOX Sports Ohio in 2006, according to Sports Illustrated. So, McLeod witnessed all five of the Cavaliers’ trips to the NBA Finals with James, and, of course, the one they won in 2016.
McLeod, who was only 67 years old, died from a heart attack in September, according to News 5 Cleveland.
“I know when all four of us got the news, we was like, ‘What?’ It didn’t make sense,” James said, according to Sports Illustrated. “It was like, ‘No, you must be talking about somebody else.’ … So it would have been very difficult to look over there and see (color commentator) Austin Carr and not see our great friend Fred, and the great tie that he would’ve had on for that game.”LeBron James
McLeod also announced games for the Detroit Pistons for 22 seasons, according to News 5 Cleveland.
LeBron James was still dominating before the season was suspended
Despite dealing with all of the hardship off the court, James was having a great season for the Los Angeles Lakers. He was averaging 25.7 points per game and was leading the league in assists with 10.6. The Lakers had the best record in the Western Conference too as they were 49-14.
Right before the league suspended its season, James led the Lakers to a win over the No. 1 team in the Eastern Conference, the Milwaukee Bucks, and the No. 2 team in the Western Conference, the Los Angeles Clippers. James had 37 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists against the Bucks too.
The NBA ultimately suspended its season due to the COVID-19 pandemic on March 11, though, and it has not yet returned.
Hopefully, the NBA figures out a way to still finish the season at some point. We all want to see James and the rest of the NBA back on the court. If they do resume the season, we all know that LeBron James will continue to dominate to honor Kobe Bryant and Fred McLeod.