Former Los Angeles Lakers forward Antawn Jamison is one of very few people in the world who had the chance to play alongside both Kobe Bryant and LeBron James in the NBA.
Jamison played with James during the superstar’s first stint with the Cleveland Cavaliers and played with Bryant during the 2012-13 season on the Lakers.
The retired NBA forward, who made two All-Star teams during his career, explained what it was like playing with James and Bryant.
Jamison explained that James used to be “happy-go-lucky” until he joined the Miami Heat and had a mindset shift. He explained that Bryant was “more like Mike,” suggesting that the Lakers legend had a mindset like Michael Jordan’s.
“At that particular time, Bron needed to go into a situation like he did with Miami,” Jamison said of James’ first stint with the Cavs. “… The difference between Bron and Kobe, Kobe was more like Mike, just the mentality. Bron was more like happy-go-lucky, just still having a good time, all the handshakes they was doing. So, I think Bron needed to go there with Pat Riley and learn about the mentality that Mike and Magic [Johnson] and those guys — D-Wade (Dwyane Wade) already had it, so I think by those couple years, by him being down there in Miami, it took him to the next level. … And from what I heard after he got back from Miami from the people with the organization, you could tell he came back different.”
It’s certainly fascinating to hear Jamison’s perspective. The former first-round pick had a nice career in the NBA, averaging 18.5 points and 7.5 rebounds per game during his time in the league. In addition to his two All-Star selections, he won Sixth Man of the Year honors in the 2003-04 campaign.
Bryant, of course, spent his entire career with the Lakers. The Hall of Famer earned 18 All-Star selections, five NBA titles, two Finals MVP awards and one league MVP nod during his 20 years in the NBA.
As for James, he’s working on an iconic resume himself. He’s a 19-time All-Star, four-time NBA champion, four-time Finals MVP and four-time league MVP.
The veteran’s mindset has surely changed a lot over the years, and Lakers fans are hoping that he’s in a good place right now. James is looking to return from injury as soon as possible to help Los Angeles make a push for the 2023 NBA title.
The superstar’s “happy-go-lucky” side certainly still makes the occasional appearance, but he’s undoubtedly focused on one thing at this stage of his career: winning championships. Time will tell if the future holds any more titles for the NBA’s all-time leading scorer.