LeBron James signing with the Los Angeles Lakers last month instantly put the Purple and Gold back on the basketball map.
But if this next move happens, the Lakers might be ushering in a new era of “Showtime,” altogether.
When stopped by TMZ Sports earlier in the week, Shaquille O’Neal blurted out, "Kobe [Bryant] coming back, I heard. Kobe coming back, I heard he was. You heard it here first."
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Take a look at the impromptu comment below.
Wait did Shaq just spill the beans on a basketball comeback for Bryant, who retired in 2016 after 20 years with the Lakers? Or was O’Neal just being his usual humorous, gregarious self?
Last April, during an appearance on Good Morning America, Bryant flat out said he doesn’t miss hoops.
But perhaps the chance to team up with King James and chase down what would be his sixth ring has Bryant reconsidering. Or maybe, he just wants to prove that he can still play and the team he does that with isn’t important.
Whatever the case may be, despite being a five-time NBA champion, two-time Finals MVP, league MVP and 18-time All-Star, Bryant turns 40 later this month.
Not to mention, Bryant's final three seasons were mired in injuries, including a ruptured Achilles tendon and torn rotator cuff.
So, even if his former teammate, O’Neal, is telling the truth about Bryant’s return, just how effective the “Black Mamba” would be, remains to be seen.
Perhaps proving critics wrong and tying his idol, Michael Jordan, is all the motivation Bryant needs.
Whether Bryant returns to the Lakers or not, the team has revamped its roster in a major way this offseason. A few days after inking James to a four-year, $154 million deal, they signed veteran point guard Rajon Rondo.
The Lakers then kept their spree of one-year deals going, agreeing to terms with fellow veterans JaVale McGee, Lance Stephenson, and Michael Beasley.
"We just got guys that love to play basketball," James told ESPN during a lengthy sit-down interview Monday.
"At the end of the day, guys that love to play ball, and that's what they do every single day, I love that. I love that, and I think [Lakers general manager Rob] Pelinka and [Lakers president] Magic [Johnson] love that as well, and that's why they made the signings. And bringing Lance and JaVale and Beas and Rondo, they're guys that every day that they wake up, they think about the game of basketball. And everything else is secondary.”
Adding the aforementioned ballers to a mix of talented players including Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma, should make the Lakers an instant playoff contender.
And that in itself is promising, considering the Lakers went 35-47 last season and missed the playoffs for the fourth straight year.
Do you think there’s any truth to Bryant coming back to team with King James?