Kobe Bryant tells LeBron James' critics to 'back off'
On the court LeBron James and Kobe Bryant are fierce competitors.
Off the court they appear to be more like allies.
In an interview with ESPN, Bryant told the media to "back off" of James and stop criticizing him for his lackluster performance against the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA FInals.
"I think people need to lay off that kid, that's what I think," Bryant said. "I've gotten to know him pretty well, playing with the Olympic team, and I think they just need to back off him and just let him play and let him live his life and let him make his decisions and let him mature as a player."
Bryant said he could relate to the pressure and the intense scrutiny that James endured.
"It's tough to be under the microscope like that all the time," Bryant said. "So, I would like everybody to just back off of him and just let him play."
-- Melissa Rohlin
Photo: Kobe Bryant, left, LeBron James. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times