The devastating death of Kobe Bryant has taken an emotional toll on the entire Los Angeles Lakers organization, but LeBron James reportedly offered a reassuring comment as he attempts to lead the team back to the postseason.
Bill Oram of The Athletic looked at how the Lakers are approaching the incredibly difficult task of moving beyond Bryant’s death.
Oram noted a get together of the entire organization in which James first reminisced about previous moments with Bryant before then focusing on the future with James serving as a team leader.
“God gave me wide shoulders for a reason,” James said, according to multiple people who were present.
James is in just his second season with the Lakers, but the 35-year-old veteran forward is in his 17th NBA season. In past stints with both the Cleveland Cavaliers and Miami Heat, it was James’ leadership that helped each franchise capture NBA titles.
When James was signed by the Lakers, his skills as a player and leader served as chief reasons why the team was so eager to sign him.
Last season, an injury-plagued campaign limited him to a career-low 55 games, with the Lakers once again missing the postseason.
However, the addition of Anthony Davis and James’ return to health has resulted in a resurgence of the franchise, with the Lakers’ record currently at 36-10.
The Lakers have the best record in the Western Conference, but haven’t played since Bryant’s death. James’ emotional reaction to the painful news might have some questioning whether he’ll be able to bounce back from such tragic news.
If past history is any indication, James will no doubt be inspired to perform at an even higher level for the remainder of the season.
Prior to the start of this season, James was considered on the downside of his career. He slapped back at his critics by scoring 25.3 points, handing out 10.7 assists and grabbing 7.7 rebounds per game.
The Lakers are not scheduled to play again until Friday night, when they host the Portland Trail Blazers. The emotion of the night in paying tribute to Bryant will be strong, but James’ broad shoulders appear up to the task of leading the Lakers through this tragic stretch.