Kobe Bryant on LeBron James carrying the Lakers torch: "Now it is somebody else's time"

Cleveland Cavaliers v Los Angeles Lakers

LeBron James will become the latest in a long line of NBA legends to don the famous Los Angeles Lakers jersey after he agreed to join them in free agency.

The 33-year-old ended a year-long anticipation over his future by choosing to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers for the second time in his career and head to the City of Angels.

Lakers fans have been craving another superstar since Kobe Bryant retired in 2016.

Passing the torch

The Black Mamba delivered five championships to the franchise and he's willing to help LeBron become a success in LA in the same way that previous Laker greats did for him.

"When I came here, Magic [Johnson] welcomed me with open arms, me and Shaq [O'Neal], and we were able to carry on the tradition with Magic's and Kareem's [Abdul-Jabbar] support and certainly it is our responsibility to pay that forward," he told ESPN's Stephen A. Smith.

"So anything that I can do whatsoever to help LeBron bring a championship back to the city of L.A., I am all for it."

Bryant is looking forward to seeing James carry the torch for Los Angeles and carve out his own legacy in the famous purple and gold unfirm.

Los Angeles Lakers v Cleveland Cavaliers

"Dude, as people, you got to help your brothers do well," said Bryant. "I had a great run, I played 20 years, it was awesome, I had a great time, we are fortunate enough to win five championships and all that.

"Now it is somebody else's time. And that is what the Lakers have always been about."

The Lakers haven't reached the playoff since 2013 - the longest drought in franchise history - and the minimum requirement will be to end that streak.

Magic Johnson and the rest of the front office are looking to put a competitive roster alongside LeBron and have made some interesting signings since landing the best player in the world.

Cleveland Cavaliers v Indiana Pacers - Game Six

LBJ will be joined at the Staples Center by his former rivals Lance Stephenson and Rajon Rondo as well as JaVale McGee, with the trio all agreeing one-year deals.

But ultimately, the pressure will be on the three-time champion to change the fortunes of the team around.

Kobe is just happy to see another all-time great represent the storied organisation and make them relevant once again.

"It takes a certain player to put on that jersey," Bryant said. "Our franchise has been really fortunate to have some truly great, historic players to represent the franchise. Extremely fortunate now to have LeBron as one of those players.

2018 NBA Finals - Game Four

"For other players around the league, I think it has pushed the Lakers front and centre again and top of the conversation.

"It creates an energy around the city which I think is extremely important not just for the city itself but the league as a whole.

"The league tends to do better when the Lakers and Boston are in contention."

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