LeBron James has achieved the impressive feat of leading the LA Lakers back to the NBA Finals. It’s a monumental moment in his career that adds to his illustrious legacy. However, there is a regret that involves the late great Kobe Bryant that he wishes could have been different.
LeBron James leads the Lakers back to the NBA Finals
With the opportunity to secure a spot in the NBA Finals, LeBron James took advantage of the scenario on Saturday night.
James put forth a dominant performance posting a triple-double effort with 38 points, 16 rebounds, and 10 assists in the Game 5 win over the Nuggets. It marked his 27th career 30-point triple-double. It also made him the first Lakers player to have at least 35 points and 15 rebounds in a triple-double outing in the playoffs since Hall of Famer James Worthy in 1988.
The 35-year-old put forth his best performance when the Lakers needed it most, including a decisive nine straight points late in the fourth quarter. It marked the 10th time in James’ career that he has reached the NBA Finals, and 10th in the last 11 seasons. However, there was one thing after the historic feat that eats away at him involving Kobe Bryant.
LeBron James holds one huge regret involving Kobe Bryant
Since LeBron James elected to join the Lakers, the task of leading the franchise to greatness has been thrust upon his shoulders.
It also directly linked him to Kobe Bryant as the two shared a strong bond on and off the court through their love of the game of basketball. However, Bryant’s passing in January has left a huge regret for James about not sitting down him to discuss the ins and outs of LA, the organization, and the expectations the franchise holds, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.
“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].”
James continued: “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.”
It was a special connection that could have had another unique moment. Bryant meant a lot to many in the NBA, which makes that missed situation for James that much more heartbreaking.
Eyeing leaving a lasting legacy in LA
There are many things that LeBron James wished he could have done involving Kobe Bryant before his devastating passing in January.
However, there is a unique way he can honor him further by guiding the Lakers to an NBA title. James, alongside Anthony Davis, has led the franchise to their first NBA Finals appearance since Bryant did so back in 2010.
LA still doesn’t know who their opponent will be as the Miami Heat hold a 3-2 lead over the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals. Regardless of the opposing team, the Lakers behind James and Davis have the mindset of the task still not being complete.
The franchise is on the doorstep of adding another NBA title, which James is motivated to keep the ball rolling toward the ultimate goal.