Kobe Bryant and LeBron James have never really been portrayed as friends, or even having the type of relationship where they would stick up for one another. In fact, the two have often been seen as rivals, with both competing to be known as the Michael Jordan of the past decade.
So, it’s a little surprising to see Bryant back LeBron up against the insane expectations the four-time NBA MVP has to deal with..
From Dime Magazine:
“[LeBron] has two of them [titles]. For us players, it becomes about how many you get, which sounds absolutely ridiculous. You’re really lucky and fortunate to win one, but now it’s become so jaded, it’s like, ‘OK you only won one, you only won two, you should win five or six,’ which is absolutely ridiculous. But nonetheless, that’s the challenge that we deal with.”
Bryant is absolutely correct here. The title pressure on superstars, especially James, is absurd.
Winning an NBA championship is an extremely difficult thing to do. The fact that James won two of the past four NBA titles as the best player on his team is awfully impressive. That some criticize and look down on LeBron for not three-peating, something only five franchises have done in the league’s history, instead of praising him for all his successes is odd.
But this is the climate we live in. Unfortunately for James, he’s only able to escape criticism when he’s a reigning champion. That, in part, is why it’s crucial for LeBron to make the free agency choice this summer that gives him the best opportunity to win going forward.