Report: Some in Lakers Front Office Loyal to Kobe Bryant Not Willing to Cede Power to LeBron James - Lakers Daily

Report: Some in Lakers Front Office Loyal to Kobe Bryant Not Willing to Cede Power to LeBron James

LeBron James and Rob Pelinka ClutchPoints

On Saturday night against the Philadelphia 76ers, LeBron James surpassed Kobe Bryant in total career points.

But he likely still has a long way to go to surpass Bryant in the hearts of many associated with the Los Angeles Lakers.

This is a sentiment that has existed since the day James verbally committed to the Purple and Gold about a year and a half ago.

According to The Athletic’s Joe Vardon, there are those in the Lakers front office who are still so enamored with Bryant that they’ve been reluctant to give James the same entrée.

“The Lakers’ glorious history transcends even Bryant, who played each of his 20 seasons, scored all of his points and won his five titles with the Lakers,” wrote Vardon. “Kobe is the franchise’s standard-bearer until someone takes it from him. James certainly didn’t do it last year, with his injury that derailed his own season, his attitude that showcased indifference toward the LA fans and to the Lakers failing to make the playoffs. As the Lakers’ offseason began, and the team was looking for a coach, there was an internal struggle in the front office with a faction loyal to Bryant that did not want to cede power to James. It’s partially how the Lakers ended up with [Frank] Vogel instead of Tyronn Lue — LeBron’s coach from the Cavs.”

This sentiment has been true for plenty of Lakers fans as well. Shortly after James signed with the team in 2018, a mural of the Akron, Ohio native went up in Los Angeles — only to be vandalized shortly after by a Lakers fan.

To be fair, even if James has surpassed Bryant as a player — as many feel he has — he still falls way short of the Black Mamba as a Laker. This is mostly due to the team’s rich championship heritage, of which Bryant contributed five rings.

As far as the front office, its loyalty to Bryant may not be the only issue vis a vis James.

There has also been criticism that it’s been too eager to allow Klutch Sports, which is headed by James’ associate Rich Paul, to dictate personnel decisions.