LeBron James Reacts to Identical Dunk With Kobe Bryant

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James paid tribute to Kobe Bryant last Thursday when he recreated the iconic reverse windmill dunk from 19 years ago. This moment was immortalized by Lakers photographer Andrew Bernstein, who captured the once in a lifetime moment. James has since responded to his viral play against the Houston Rockets and the accompanying photo.

"I don't know, I didn't really predetermine that until I jumped," James said about his dunk. "I just jumped and then kinda figured it out. It's crazy how it was the same exact dunk in the same exact hoop that Kobe did, except for 19 years or something like that."

As James explained, he hadn't seen footage of Bryant's reverse windmill dunk recently. He has seen some similar dunks, but that specific play was not one that he was familiar with. Although James assumed that he watched the game due to being a junior in high school and working on his own craft.

While the dunk has now become an iconic part of his career, James is actually more impressed with a different aspect of the play. He is in awe of the photo taken by Bernstein. James was informed about how this was an extremely difficult shot, but the Lakers photographer managed to capture the perfect moment.

"I was like, 'Holy s–,'" James told Bill Oram of The Athletic. "That is an unbelievable photo. And then when I found how it was taken. … Andy literally had one snap on his remote to get that. He's the real MVP for sure."

The remote system used by Bernstein doesn't take a burst of photos. There are flashbulbs in the ceiling that take four seconds to reset. There was only one opportunity to get this perfect shot, and the longtime photographer did just that.

This iconic play against the Rockets was one way to pay tribute to Bryant, even if James unknowingly did so. However, it is likely not the main way that the current Lakers star wants to honor the memory of the late NBA icon.


James has goals of bringing an NBA Finals championship to Los Angeles and proving that the Lakers are once again one of the league's elite teams. Doing so the same year that Bryant died would be a fitting tribute.

(Photo Credit: Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)