The moment passed with little notice, a brief hand slap and hug between LeBron James and Kobe Bryant near the Lakers bench after a timeout during the Lakers’ Christmas Day game against the Miami Heat. It came and went in an instant, and soon the injured Bryant was sitting back down and James was on the floor throwing down a windmill slam dunk that reverberated all the way to South Beach. But it was poignant nonetheless, the current Don of the NBA paying respect to his wounded predecessor while offering well wishes and a speedy recovery. “He’s meant so much to he league since he got here in ’96, and his five championships and the rest of his resume has meant a lot,” James said. “Especially a game like today, and marquee games, you definitely want to have the best players out there, and unfortunately injuries keep some guys out.” But James undoubtedly knows that no matter how quickly Bryant comes back or to what level, he no longer poses any threat to his throne. Bryant smiled and whispered his thanks. He’ll never publicly concede the transfer of power, but he’s wise enough to understand James runs this league now. But he appreciated it all the same.
LeBron, not Kobe, is now NBA’s standard-bearer
L.A. Daily News | Dec 26