LeBron James and Kobe Bryant have long had a rivalry of sorts. Though considering they played in different conferences and their peaks didn't really overlap, it's always seemed the true animosity was between the supporters of the two players. And with LeBron now on the Los Angeles Lakers, it's put many Lakers and Kobe fans in an awkward position.
Some, notably, have not handled it well. On numerous occasions, a mural depicting LeBron in L.A. was defaced, which eventually led to the artist. In the long run, though, even the most strident Kobe supporters will likely put aside the rivalry once LeBron gets on the court and starts helping the Lakers win games.
That, too, is what Kobe expects will happen. During a recent radio interview, Kobe said his fans will "fall in line" because winning is what's most important. Via ESPN:
"I hear that," Bryant said when asked on "The Rich Eisen Show" whether he is aware that some of his fans have an issue with James being a part of the Lakers family. "But listen, if you are fan of mine, you are a fan of winning, you are a fan of the Lakers. I bleed purple and gold. So, that is above anything else.
"I have been a Lakers fan since I was yay high. That is never going to change. Right? [It] is about winning championships. So, they'll fall in line."
There might be some holdouts, but Kobe's prediction seems the most likely outcome. It's one thing to be a little upset after your longtime rival joins your team. That's certainly a weird feeling for a fan, especially in the summer when it still doesn't seem like a reality.
LeBron is the best player in the league, though, and should help the Lakers get back to the playoffs for the first time since 2013. That seems like something even Kobe fans can get behind.