LeBron James Explains Unintended Dunk Tribute to Kobe Bryant, Comparison Video

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistFebruary 9, 2020

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 6: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers dunks the ball against the Houston Rockets on February 6, 2020 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2020 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images

LeBron James provided a near spot-on reenactment of a Kobe Bryant dunk during the Los Angeles Lakers game against the Houston Rockets Thursday, but it apparently wasn't on purpose.

"I didn't really predetermine that either until I jumped," James said Saturday, per Dave McMenamin of ESPN. "I just jumped and kind of figured it out, and then ...it's crazy how it's the same exact dunk, the same exact hoop that Kobe did [it on]—what, 19 years ago or something like that? That was nice."

The play came on a breakaway, with James throwing down a huge reverse dunk that seemed to turn back the clock for the 35-year-old.

Amazingly, it was eerily similar to one Bryant had sunk 19 years earlier at the Staples Center:

Bryant was killed less than two weeks earlier alongside eight other people—including his 13-year-old daughter Gianna—in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California.

James, who was close to the former Lakers legend, believes his friend helped guide him on the play.

"Ever see the movie 'The 6th Man'?" he said, referencing the 1997 Marlon Wayans movie. "Kobe came down, put himself in my body and gave me that dunk on that break."

Though the Lakers suffered a 121-111 loss in the game, LeBron's dunk will probably go down as one of the most memorable plays of the 2019-20 NBA season.

"It's crazy, it's crazy," he said. "To now [have it] be a part of my history between that correlation between me and Kobe, that play, I think it's pretty, pretty, pretty awesome. I'm glad I did it in a Laker uniform."


Adam Lefkoe sits down with NBA legend and champion Stephen Jackson and Hall of Fame broadcaster Dan Patrick to discuss Kobe's legacy, among many other topics on The Lefkoe Show. This is the first batch of many interviews that Lefkoe conducted in Miami during Super Bowl Week, and we're excited to roll them out to you over the next few weeks!

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