LeBron James and his Lakers teammates shared memories of Kobe Bryant at their practice facility in El Segundo, Calif., on Tuesday, according to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin.
The Lakers met as a team on Tuesday for the first time since Bryant’s tragic death on Sunday morning. They held a “light workout” before a luncheon with players, ownership and staff.
James shared a notable story involving Bryant’s legendary competitiveness during the 2008 Summer Olympics. Team USA faced Spain in the gold-medal game against Spain, and Bryant did not hold back against Lakers teammate Pau Gasol in the contest.
“James recalled in amazement the moment, just a few possessions into the game, when Bryant ‘blew up’ Gasol when he was setting a screen–just ran straight through him, putting Gasol on the hardwood,” McMenamin wrote on Tuesday. “James said his reaction at the time was along the lines of, ‘Oh, wow, you’re going to have to play with this guy next season.'”
Bryant was passed by James for No. 3 on the all-time scoring list in Philadelphia on Saturday. The pair shared a hug on the sideline, and James recalled his memories of Bryant as a teenager postgame.
“When I was a kid, when I was in high school, I was growing up through the ranks when Kobe came into the league. It wasn’t a dream of mine to come straight from high school at that point in time to the NBA,” James told the media at the Wells Fargo Center. “But I was like, wow, a 17-year-old or 18-year-old kid being able to make that leap, that’s pretty damn cool.”