Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers are going through a tough time of it in the opening stages of the 2015-16 NBA season.
The Lakers are without a win in any of their four games and appear to have totally given up on defense. Bryant, meanwhile, has been highly critical of his own play, saying earlier this week that he 'sucks.'
But, whilst the future Hall of Famer appears to be going through something of a crisis of confidence, he has been backed today by a fellow great, LeBron James.
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The Cleveland Cavalier's star, asked for his view on Kobe's recent struggles, wasn't about to throw his peer under the bus.
"What I see is a challenge to himself. It has zero to do with his age. Zero," James told Ohio.com's Jason Lloyd before saying he himself had doubted himself once.
"I think at one point in my career, in my 20s, I felt like I sucked. It's all a personal challenge. I know him. He knows he don't suck. C'mon man, it's Kobe Bryant."
"It's a personal challenge to him. That's all that is."
Shooting at a career low .323-percent from field goal range and putting up air shots like the one in the clip below, the 'challenge' facing Bryant is certainly a tough one from here on out.
Indeed, at 37-years-old and coming off the back of consecutive season-ending injuries, if Kobe is able to get back to anywhere near his best before his 20th season with the Lakers comes to an end, it will be some achievement.
Lakers fans will certainly be hoping that their talisman, and their team's, early season form is a blip rather than a sign of things to come.
NBA fans: Is Kobe finished as an elite NBA player? Have your say in the comments below...News Now - Sport News