The endearing text message Kobe Bryant immediately sent LeBron James when he signed with Lakers

Brad Sullivan
3 Min Read

When LeBron James decided to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2018, some critics attacked the move, but James was heartened by a text he received from Lakers legend Kobe Bryant that welcomed him to the fold.

James reflected on that moment and expressed regret that while he and Bryant communicated after that message, they were never able to have a sit-down talk to discuss a variety of topics connected to the Lakers.

That opportunity was tragically ended when Bryant died in a Jan. 26 helicopter crash, less than a day after James passed him on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. Bryant’s shocking death stunned the NBA, especially James.

“Of course, you think there’s going to be time for us to get together and I understand that there are regrets in life, but I definitely wish I had that moment with him,” James told Yahoo Sports. “I do remember when I decided to come here, he sent me a text right away and said, ‘Welcome, brother. Welcome to the family.’ That was a special moment because at the time, Laker faithful wasn’t [fully in on me]. A lot of people were saying, ‘Well, we might not want LeBron at this point in his career,’ and, ‘Is he right? Is he going to get us back [to the Finals]?’ So to hear from him and get his stamp of approval, it meant a lot. I don’t ever question myself, but when it’s coming from Kobe, it definitely meant a lot.”

When James joined the Lakers, he was 33 years old and had played 15 seasons in the NBA, which led some to think that his addition wouldn’t get the Lakers back to the NBA Finals.

Those fears were magnified last year when injuries to James limited him to a career-low 55 games, with the Lakers once again missing the postseason.

However, James put an end to such talks with a huge comeback season and playing an integral role in sending the Lakers to their first finals in a decade.

While James waits to find out who the Lakers will face in the finals, he’s learned an important lesson.

“We have to remember not to take life and people for granted,” James said.

James and his Lakers teammates could find out as early as Sunday who their opponent will be, with the Miami Heat making their second try at eliminating the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference finals.

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Brad is a freelance writer for, who can clearly recall watching Lakers games in 1972 as they captured the first of their 11 Los Angeles-based titles. The franchise's evolution into a beloved and iconic franchise among its fan base since that memorable year allows for a wider perspective to be a part of his writing about the team's current fortunes.