The LA Lakers have given much more power to LeBron James than they even allowed Kobe Bryant to have, who played his entire HOF career with the iconic franchise.
It’s no secret that LeBron James has played a crucial in the front office decisions of all the teams he played for, barring the Miami Heat, courtesy of Pat Riley’s style of functioning. LeGM is one of the best basketball minds in the league, with no signings or trades happening before going through him.
Surprisingly, a franchise like the Lakers has had to bend in front of James too. The purple and gold team is one of the most iconic organizations in the NBA, having had the likes of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jerry West, Magic Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal, and Kobe Bryant played for them.
Owned by the Buss family, the Lakers is one of the most popular franchises globally. The Lakers account for seventeen NBA championships and tied with Boston Celtics for the most no. of NBA championships.
According to Bill Oram of The Athletic, even the lifetime Laker Kobe Bryant didn’t wield as much power as James does in the organization.
LeBron James has a stronger hold in the Lakers front office than even Kobe Bryant had.
The current era of the NBA has many of its top superstars playing an active role in the management decisions, especially when it comes to recruiting players. The current crop of players emphasize individual relationships also and are not only limited to the accolades of a potential teammate.
Over the years, players have begun to expect a certain amount of decision-making power, sometimes taking it too far. According to recent reports, James and his celebrity agent Rich Paul have been feuding with the Lakers President Rob Pelinka.
The rift between the two parties is a consequence of the Lakers making no deal at the trade deadline. A recent report by Bill Oram of The Athletic states that even the Black Mamba didn’t wield as much power as James does in the Lakers organization.
“But for as important as Bryant was to the Lakers, sources inside the organization have long said that not even the legendary Black Mamba wielded as much power within the organization as James now has.”
“Bryant was never able to strong-arm the Lakers to make a move like the one James helped orchestrate for [Russell] Westbrook, which has proven to be an outright disaster.”
Surprisingly, Kobe played his entire 20 seasons career with the Lakers, bringing five NBA championships to the city of LA. In his 20 seasons with the Lakers, the Mamba won two Finals MVP, league MVP, two scoring titles, and had eighteen All-Star selections.
On the other hand, James has played four seasons with the franchise and brought them a championship in his second year at the 2020 Orlando Bubble.
Thus only time will tell how long the marriage between James and the Lakers lasts, especially with reports of James ending his career in Cleveland making headlines off late.