During his 13-year NBA career to date, LeBron James has shown the ability to be a good passer. He is Magic Johnson 2.0 with uber-athleticism.
Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant doesn’t want James’s children to be great passers, however.
“They pass too much,” Bryant told James’s mother Gloria on Thursday night following his last game against the Cleveland Cavaliers star. “Send them my way, and I’ll fix that.”
If James plays like Magic Johnson, Bryant plays like Michael Jordan. Bryant is one of the best scorers of all time; he is third on the all-time scoring list with 33,361 points. But his willingness to share the ball is not that great. Bryant has averaged 4.7 assists per game in his 19-year career.
The NBA is becoming a 3-point shooting gallery. Long bombers are encouraged. Ball movement has increased and “small ball” lineups are in vogue—because they work.
Bryant entered the league in an era in which volume shooting—or taking lots of shots in general—was the norm. And when Bryant was in the prime of his career, he flourished.
After the future Hall of Famer retires at the end of the season, maybe fans will see him on the sidelines as a coach, or even as a TV analyst. Whatever Bryant chooses to do, expect one aspect of his personality to remain the same: if he’s open, he will take the shot.