LeBron James reiterates mission to honor Kobe Byrant
LeBron James during the Los Angeles Lakers' tribute to Kobe Bryant at Staples Center
AFP

LeBron James reiterates mission to honor Kobe Byrant

Alder Almo (Philstar.com) - July 22, 2020 - 11:48am

JERSEY CITY, New Jersey – Another practice has ended for the Los Angeles Lakers inside the Bubble in Florida. Another moment to remember Kobe.

The Lakers have made it a habit to shout “1-2-3 Mamba!” in their huddle to end every practice session since Bryant’s untimely death on January 26 this year.

“A day doesn't go by when I don't think about him," James said during the Lakers’ Zoom call with reporters ahead of the NBA's July 30 restart.

James surpassed Bryant to become the league’s third-highest scorer of all time on the eve of the Lakers legend’s tragic helicopter crash. Nearly six months after that, James again made it known that this season has much more meaning to him and the organization.

And as the NBA gets nearer for the much-awaited restart, James — in his 17th season in the league — is eager to resume his quest to lead the franchise to their 17th banner in honor of Bryant and his daughter Gigi.

James added that it’s not only Kobe who is always in his thoughts but also Gigi, Vanessa and their other girls.

The Lakers will continue wear the Kobe commemorative patch in their jerseys.

"He's (Kobe) still with us," Lakers coach Frank Vogel added in the Zoom call. "Anytime a group like ours goes through something so emotionally deep, I just think it forms bonds. It strengthened our group. You never want something like that to happen, but I do think that's the effect of something like that."

True enough, the Lakers’ strength this season is their chemistry. And they’ve been more solid since Bryant’s death, going 14-4, to maintain their top spot in the west before the NBA was halted by pandemic.

Vogel said the Lakers have always wanted to embody what Kobe stood for.

“I think there is going to be a daily mindset of honoring the work, and having that toughness about us,” Vogel continued. “When we get into the playoffs there will be opportunities and situations where we’ll refresh our mindset of things that he stood for, and what his approach was from a competitive spirit standpoint. Come playoff time that I think will help us in our mission this year.”

The Lakers will open the NBA restart against their crosstown rival Clippers on July 30.

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