‘Emotional’ LeBron James eager to face Kobe Bryant Wednesday
With Kobe Bryant’s season-long swan song in full swing and LeBron James only having three more opportunities to face the Los Angeles Lakers icon before it’s all said and done, the Cleveland Cavaliers superstar admitted he gets “emotional” whenever he watches the retiring legend play.
“Anytime I even watch his games, even when I’m not playing him, it’s always, like, very emotional just knowing it’s his last hurrah,” James said on Monday, via ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. “And he’s done so much, not only for the Lakers organization, but for me as a kid growing up watching Kobe and things of that nature and also competing against him.
“So it’s going to be really cool to see him on Wednesday for sure, and hopefully — I know our fans — they’re going to give him a great reception, well-deserved.”
The Cavaliers reportedly will pay tribute to Bryant and his impact upon the NBA during a pregame video tribute ahead of Wednesday’s tilt. James will again face Bryant during Sunday’s NBA All-Star Game. After that, there will be only one other time the two superstars will share the same court, on March 10 at Staples Center.
James, who admitted earlier this season he is “kind of sad” about Bryant’s impending retirement, also discussed Kobe’s recent hot streak during which he turned back the clock in several games, performances even Kobe admitted left him baffled.
“I mean, I watch all the games, but I definitely watch when he’s on and I’m not playing,” he said. “He’s been in a great rhythm. I hope he gets back to a not-so-good rhythm by Wednesday. But it’s fun. It’s definitely great to see him out there having fun and doing what he loves to do.”
James obviously was going out of his way to heap deserved praise upon the retiring Bryant, but a response to how their relationship has evolved over the years indicated that the two perhaps haven’t been all that close.
“I don’t want to answer that,” he said. “I don’t want to answer that.”