After his Western Conference Finals win over the Denver Nuggets, LeBron James shared with Yahoo Sports his one regret about the late Kobe Bryant.
In the summer of 2018, when LeBron announced that he was leaving the East and would be joining the historic Lakers franchise, he and Kobe were supposed to get together and discuss his future in the franchise and in Los Angeles.
However, the two never got to sit down due to their chaotic schedules. They would see each other and talk about getting together but no plans ever came to fruition. This is something that LeBron says still bothers him 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 said. “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.”
James went on to say that he could have benefitted greatly from a conversation with Kobe. Prior to playing with the Lakers, LeBron played for the Cavaliers and HEAT, but neither team had the legacy that the Lakers franchise carried. He compared his move to Los Angeles to A-Rod’s move from the Mariners to the Yankees.
“When I played in Cleveland, I grew up 35 minutes away from there, and so I kind of knew the people. When I went down to Miami, [Dwyane Wade] was able to give me the blueprint on that. But I never played for a historic franchise like the Lakers,” James said. “It’s probably like when [Alex Rodriguez] went to the Yankees. He probably heard from [Derek] Jeter on what it’s going to take to play in front of this. It’s different from playing with the Mariners. It’s different from the Rangers. I would have definitely loved to get that side of what it takes, what does it take to win over Laker faithful or how can I make them appreciate my game. … That would have been something to pick his brain on.”
He then went on to say he wishes he could have apologized to Kobe for never playing him in a finals.
“And then probably talk about us never meeting in the Finals. Just apologizing to him. In f—ing ’09 when I lost to Dwight [Howard], that would have been a great conversation for sure. You know, just to be like, we didn’t give the people what they wanted. We didn’t give them what they wanted.”
Now that the Celtics are eliminated from the East, Miami will play the Lakers in the NBA finals. LeBron briefly touched on the upcoming finals series and what it would mean to him to have won championships with three different franchises.
“Winning a championship is hard, and to be able to bring three different fan bases to the promised land, that would be special,” James told Yahoo Sports. “Miami had done it once before I got there and obviously the Lakers have done it numerous times. But for the present time, just to have that joy, that joy of saying we’re world champions and doing it with three different franchises would be something that’s just flat-out historic. I know it’s going to be challenging as hell. It’s going to be one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but man, I’m so up for it. I’m so up for it.”