LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers traveled to Los Angeles to face off against Kobe Bryant for one last time. Getting to see LeBron and Kobe go at it one more time made for great TV, but the Cavs have a lot more to worry about after this game. The Cavs have been going through a lot of rumors, conflicts, and disagreements this season. We’re talking about a team who fired their coach this season.
After the game, Kobe was asked about what the Cavs need to get over the hump and win the Finals. Via J.A. Adande of ESPN:
“You have to be true to who you are, and authentic,” Kobe said. “And I think every team should have that lightning rod. Because the happy-go-lucky stuff doesn’t work. I don’t care what anybody says or people’s perception of the team. You have to have that inner conflict. You have to have that person that’s really driving these things. From the Cavs’ perspective, it’s hard for me to tell from afar who should be that person. LeBron’s not that person. LeBron, he’s a … he brings people together. That’s what he does naturally. He’s phenomenal at it. But you have to have somebody else who’s going to create that tension. Maybe it’s Kyrie [Irving].”
My first thought when I heard Kobe offer this piece of advice was that I completely understand where he’s coming from. The teams that just stay happy usually are the ones who get to be complacent with their play too. Complacency is what comes back to bite any team in the end. There has to be some sort of hunger, and someone always to be the one reminding the rest of the team about it. Kobe said that person for the Golden State Warriors was Draymond Green, and now it may be Kyrie Irving for Cleveland.
The other thought that came to mind dealt with who exactly the lightning rod is for Cleveland. I agree with Kobe when he says that LeBron is the one that brings everyone together, but I’m not so sure that Irving is the one to play the lightning rod role. He should be able to, but anymore it seems like this role is played more by the role players of the team, and that’s the issue that’s impacting the team. Notice Kobe only said that “maybe” it’s Irving to play the spark. He doesn’t really know who it is, I’m not sure if there’s one single person who is, and a lot of the media and fans don’t know who it is. A championship ring doesn’t look all that attainable with all of these problems going on, so hopefully they can find a lightning rod soon.
H/T: CBS Sports