For some reason, some “fans” of the Los Angeles Lakers refused to accept LeBron James upon his signing. What should have been seen as a major accomplishment for an organization that has spent much of the last decade in a tailspin was instead seen by some as an act of treachery.
Hell, even murals painted as a means to celebrate James’ decision were defaced almost as soon as they went up. Kobe Bryant sat down for an interview with Rich Eisen for “The Rich Eisen Show” and was asked about whether he’d seen that behavior from some of his fans and how he felt about it.
“... If you’re a fan of mine, then you’re a fan of winning; you’re a fan of the Lakers. I bleed purple and gold, so that’s above anything else. I’ve been a Laker fan since I was yay high. That’s never going to change, right. And it’s about winning championships, so they’ll (those fans will) fall in line.”
This is about as well as Kobe could have handled the situation without full-on calling his fans out. He obviously still cares deeply about the fans upon whose loyalty he built his current fortune, but also recognizes that their distaste for LeBron doesn’t really help anyone.
Kobe is also 100 percent correct here. Without getting too high-and-mighty, it’s hard to feel like anyone willing to jump ship because the Lakers signed LeBron has actually recently (or ever) been a true Lakers fan. It’d be one thing if James had done something so heinous off the court that anything he did on it would never be enough to make up for that blunder, but that simply isn’t the case here.
Good on Kobe for saying something about this behavior and once the season comes around and fans get to enjoy what LeBron playing for their team actually means most people will — as Kobe points out — eventually come around. And really, we’re better off without those who won’t.