Kobe Bryant: Diehard Fans Will 'Fall in Line' with LeBron James Joining Lakers

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistAugust 25, 2018

Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant, back, hugs Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James as Bryant leaves the game in the second half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Tony Dejak/Associated Press

Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant said fans who are resistant to LeBron James joining the organization will eventually "fall in line" because it will help the team contend for NBA titles.

Bryant commented on James' arrival during an appearance on the Rich Eisen Show (h/t Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.com) and noted he's aware not everyone is on board with King James' arrival.

"I hear that," he said. "But listen, if you are fan of mine, you are a fan of winning, you are a fan of the Lakers. I bleed purple and gold. So that is above anything else. I have been a Lakers fan since I was yay high. That is never going to change. Right? [It] is about winning championships. So they'll fall in line."

Bryant, who's been the focus of unsubstantiated speculation about rejoining the Lakers to play with LeBron or potentially playing in the BIG3 basketball league, also laughed off the idea of a comeback during the conversation with Eisen.

"There is about a zero percent chance that I come back and play," he said. "Nothing. Done. That's it."

James signed a four-year, $153.3 million contract with the Lakers in July.

He spoke with ESPN's Rachel Nichols last month about the decision to join L.A. instead of a team like the Philadelphia 76ers or Houston Rockets, who are closer to title contention on paper:

"I definitely thought long and hard about the possibilities of lining up alongside Ben [Simmons] and [Joel] Embiid, or lining up alongside [James] Harden and Chris [Paul]. I just felt like at this point in my career, the ultimate for me—just like when I went to Miami, everyone kind of looks at me joining a superteam, but if people look at it, I think Miami was [47-35] the year before I joined that team and you can look at the Lakers' record—so I like the challenge of being able to help a team get to someplace they haven't been in quite a while."

Now James is tasked with leading the Lakers to the playoffs for the first time since the 2012-13 season. The storied franchise's last championship came in 2010 while Bryant was still in peak form.

Getting Kobe's stamp of approval should go a long way in getting the support of Lakers fans.