Kevork Djansezian | Getty Images

It was a rivalry that was, well… never really a rivalry to begin with. Even so, that hasn’t kept Kobe Bryant and LeBron James from sharing the same headline this week. During Bryant’s sit-down with ESPN on Sunday, he went on the defensive for the much-maligned King James.

“I think people need to lay off that kid, that’s what I think. I’ve gotten to know him pretty well playing on the Olympic team, and I think they just need to back up off him and just let him play and let him live his life. Let him make his decisions, let him mature as a player.”

While James has quickly become the NBA’s resident villain, not so long ago, that title belonged to Bryant.

Battling through multiple PR-disasters during his career – including a dismissed sexual assault charge in ’03 – Bryant has been able to rebuild his reputation and elude much of the ire from the general public.

Kobe seemed to call on those memories in his defense of LeBron.

“It’s tough to be under a microscope like that all the time. So I would like everyone to just back off him and let him play.”

As Bryant’s career has shown, the most important ingredient in PR-rehab is winning, something that Kobe has mastered, and LeBron has been mastered by.

  • Seinitakau

    THATS VERY NICE OF THE “MAMBA”TO SAY THOSE WORDS ABOUT LEBRON….CAUSE I THINK ,BEFORE ALL THIS WENT DOWN…..HE WAS GOING AROUND ACTING LIKE HE’S ALREADY WON A CHAMPIONSHIP….4 U LEBRON I’D SAY…EVERYTHING STARTS FROM THE BOTTOM & U WORK YOUR WAY UP….BUT IF YOU DO IT THE OTHER WAY ROUND….U’LL SURELY COME CRASHING DOWN….

    • sam30

      Why are you yelling?

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    Oh- for the Kobe-Labron thing -big brothers are suppossed to stick up for
    there little brother-LOL-Im sure Kobe just feels sorry for him-LOL

    • Seinitakau

      im sure he does!!!he’s been there done that… sooo yeah.

  • Cody

    KOBE, no LAKER fan likes lehype. Maybe if he doesn’t think and tell everyone that he is a GOAT, is better then you and michael, and stops guaranteeing multiple championship before the season starts, and come out and say for everyone to stop calling him “king james”, because he is far from a king, then he wouldn’t be disliked so much. But he can’t change that because he is an idiot. He is a joke, he brings all this shit on to himself. And “that title belonged to BRYANT”? He never brought shit on to himself like lebron did. He was accused of something that he didn’t do. KOBE BRYANT, no need to stick up for the guy. HE IS A JOKE!!!!!!! So with all that being said, it’s time for me to get my fourth quarter lebron on and disappear from the moment.

    • sam30

      Perhaps he’s taking the higher road, after all, he’s under the same media scrutiny 99% of the time, too?

  • http://twitter.com/jackyangDOTinfo Jack Yang

    Notice how Kobe said ” let him mature as a player”. That must mean Lebron’s not mature right now. ;)

  • laffsatu

    kobe knows LEBRONZE  would DESTROY  him one on one…………………..

    • Cody

      laffsatu, how old are you? You are very immature to come on a 100% LAKERS news website and talk all this BS about the LAKERS on every post. Go find a boston website and talk with them on how trash that team is.

    • Oldmanflow

      It’s so fitting you used the term “LEBRONZE” since he’s always the runner-up when it counts the most. Even when he was on the Gold Medal winning Olympic team, he was the third option and disappeared ( true to form ) in the 4th quarter. You’re right, “LeFraud” just might be able to beat Kobe one on one, but THEY DON’T HAVE A NBA ONE ON ONE CHAMPIONSHIP. WHEN THE QUEEN GETS A RING HOLLA BACK. NOW I KNOW WHY YOU’RE ALWAYS ON HERE TALKING ABOUT “LEBROAD”, BECAUSE YOUR BOTH LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSERS!!!!

  • Luke Sucks

    Lebron deserves all the hate directed at him

    What else would you expect from a spawn of Gloria ” I can’t close my legs” James.

  • Dale Billum

    pity on that punk?? why???

  • SHOWTIME4EVA

    haha

  • SHOWTIME4EVA

    haha

  • kileer7

    I respect Kobe for defending LeBron. The kind of garbage he’s been dealing with from morons like Bayless is uncalled for; KB24 decent fellow.