As the Los Angeles Lakers start a very belated NBA playoffs run due to the COVID-19 pandemic, getting to the finals and winning the league’s championship for the team’s late legend Kobe Bryant is on every player’s mind. Especially that of their superstar LeBron James, 35. The top ranked Western Conference seed Lakers take on the Portland Trailblazers on Aug. 18, and King James and his crew are resolute about going all the way for the franchise’s 17th NBA title.
“LeBron is determined to win the NBA Championship and it all starts tonight. The Lakers haven’t been in the playoffs in six years and LeBron knows that he has the city of Los Angeles on his back and Kobe’s legacy to uphold,” a source tells HollywoodLife.com EXCLUSIVELY. Kobe brought the Lakers five NBA championships in his 20 years with the team, and LeBron wants to add another title banner to the rafters of the Staples Center in Kobe’s memory. The retired Laker was tragically killed in a Jan. 26 helicopter crash at the age of 41, along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna.
The Lakers looked like a surefire lock to at least win the Western Conference title and likely the NBA Championship, before the league suspended regular season play on March 11 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The truncated season got underway on July 30 inside the ESPN “bubble” near Orlando, FL. Teams are now entering the playoffs, which normally would have occurred in April, and the Lakers haven’t looked so hot during their 3-5 record bubble games. “LeBron is determined that the team’s woes and recent play as of late in the bubble is just temporary, and they will right the ship and get back to their winning ways in no time,” our insider explains.
“LeBron is also very interested in making Kobe Bryant proud and wants to put on a performance that Kobe would have been proud of. LeBron knows that the legacy that Kobe has left can never be matched in LA, but he wants to nurture it with a championship of his own,” our insider continues. LeBron has three NBA title rings, two from his 2012 and 2013 championship wins with the Miami Heat, and one more from his 2016 NBA victory with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
“LeBron is not worried about the naysayers who say they might get upset by Portland or another team along the way, and he is making sure to do the job at hand. He misses family, but now is not the time for that. It is all business and LeBron is looking to show a determination that we expect from him, but also he wants to sprinkle something we haven’t seen from him before. This LeBron is ready for war, and not winning the championship would be the ultimate disappointment. He’s worked too hard to have it any other way,” our source adds. Hopefully the Lakers have shaken off their cobwebs during their uneven bubble play and are in full playoffs mode to go all the way for Kobe!