Kobe Bryant vows Lakers will win title 'before you know it' and trashes Warriors fans

Los Angeles legend Kobe Bryant left loyalists at the annual Lakers All-Access event on Monday night by promising the team’s 17th NBA championship “before you know it,” before trashing fans of the two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors — half-jokingly, according to The Los Angeles Times.

The guest of honor at the Staples Center event, Bryant detailed the challenges LeBron James faces in molding a contender out of the young Lakers core, before dropping this, via ESPN’s Dave McMenamin:

“They will figure it out,” Bryant said. “They have talented pieces and (Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka) has put them in position with incredible flexibility. They will figure it out. So, enjoy the journey because we’ll be champions before you know it, and then we’ll just be laughing at all the Warrior fans who all of the sudden came out of nowhere.”

It’s not dissimilar to some Lakers fans either hopping back on board or acting as if they were jumping ship when James arrived in free agency this summer. But, hey, that is a solid Warriors jab by Bryant — one that also ignores the voracity of the Golden State faithful during the “We Believe” era last decade.

More important is Bryant’s belief that the Lakers can vie for a title sooner rather than later. He described the difficulty of blending together youngsters like Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma and Josh Hart — who he called “unbelievable talents” — when they may not know who they are as individuals yet. “You can’t have one before the other,” said Bryant, via the L.A. Times’ Broderick Turner.

As a result, James has been forced into “doing everything” — from puppeteering as a point guard to assuming full control of the reins late in close games. “That’s not the recipe to win a championship, by no means,” added Bryant, according to Turner, “but it is a recipe to keep your head above water.”

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Lebron James as a Laker
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EL SEGUNDO, CA - SEPTEMBER 24: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers poses for a portrait during media day at UCLA Health Training Center on September 24, 2018 in El Segundo, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
September 24, 2018; El Segundo, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James before speaking to media at UCLA Health Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
PORTLAND, OR - OCTOBER 18: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers dunks against the Portland Trail Blazers in the first quarter of their game at Moda Center on October 18, 2018 in Portland, Oregon. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 25: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers dunks the basketball against Paul Millsap #4 of the Denver Nuggets on October 25, 2018 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James celebrates with fans after scoring during the overtime period of an NBA basketball game against the San Antonio Spurs, Monday, Oct. 22, 2018, in Los Angeles. The Spurs won 143-142. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) grabs a rebound over Denver Nuggets forward Paul Millsap (4) during the first half of an NBA preseason basketball game, Sunday, Sept. 30, 2018, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Houston Rockets' Chris Paul, second from left, is held back by Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James, left, as Paul fights with Lakers' Rajon Rondo, center obscured, during the second half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018, in Los Angeles. The Rockets won, 124-115. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 22: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers misses a last second shot in front of Rudy Gay #22 of the San Antonio Spurs to lose 143-142 in overtime at Staples Center on October 22, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, AZ - OCTOBER 24: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts during the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena on October 24, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Lakers defeated the Suns 131-113. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 25: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers dunks the basketball against Paul Millsap #4 of the Denver Nuggets on October 25, 2018 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - OCTOBER 10: LeBron James #23 and Lance Stephenson #6 of the Los Angeles Lakers celebrate after James made a shot against the Golden State Warriors and was fouled during their preseason game at T-Mobile Arena on October 10, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CA - SEPTEMBER 30: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles reacts during a preseason game against the Denver Nuggets at Valley View Casino Center on September 30, 2018 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 02: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers attempts a shot in front of Torrey Craig #3 of the Denver Nuggets during a preseason game at Staples Center on October 2, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
PORTLAND, OR - OCTOBER 18: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers dunks against the Portland Trail Blazers in the first quarter of their game at Moda Center on October 18, 2018 in Portland, Oregon. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 25: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers dunks the basketball against Paul Millsap #4 of the Denver Nuggets on October 25, 2018 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 25: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers scores a basket and gets fouled by Mo Bamba #5 of the Orlando Magic during the first half at Staples Center on November 25, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 14: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts to his missed shot as he is fouled during the first half against the Portland Trail Blazers at Staples Center on November 14, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - FEBRUARY 07: Rajon Rondo #9 of the Los Angeles Lakers, center, is picked up by LeBron James #23 and Kyle Kuzma #0 after scoring the game winning basket against the Boston Celtics during the fourth quarter at TD Garden on February 07, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Lakers defeat the Celtics 129-128. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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The Lakers have righted the ship after a 2-5 start that led president of basketball operations Magic Johnson to admonish coach Luke Walton for failing to meet the team’s lofty standards. The Lakers have since sailed to a 14-9 record and the fifth-place spot in the Western Conference. The turnaround coincided with a report that James has been ignoring Walton’s play calls and the arrival of veteran center Tyson Chandler, who has anchored the league’s second-best defense since his debut on Nov. 7.

Still, Bryant acknowledged that James cannot carry the Lakers to contention on his own and preached patience with his still-developing teammates — two topics with which Bryant has intimate experience to varying degrees of success. Turner has the goods from Bryant again in The Los Angeles Times:

“It’s a test of Bron’s patience, and also doing what he needs to do to keep the team’s head above water,” said Bryant. “So it’s a balancing act.”

[…]

“The patience is on all of us. We have to be patient. But as players, you’re never patient with yourself. You’re patient with each other, but not with yourself. You want to be there now and you work to be there now with the understanding that it is going to take time. But you want to be there now. That’s the way that you accelerate growth. They have a lot of potential, man. They’ll figure it out.”

So, on the one hand, Lakers fans should be patient while the team’s young players try to figure out how to reach their potential. On the other, LeBron, while keeping their head above water, will deliver a title before you know it. Whether or not he will do so with those young players or a combination of stars the Lakers acquire via trades and free agency this coming summer, Bryant did not specify.

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Kobe Bryant and LeBron James
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LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 10: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers jokes with Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers during a 120-108 Cavaliers win at Staples Center on March 10, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and condition of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 10: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers posts up against Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers at STAPLES Center on March 10, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 10: Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers shakes hands with LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers after the game at STAPLES Center on March 10, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 10: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers are seen during the game on March 10, 2016 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 10: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers match up during the first half at Staples Center on March 10, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and condition of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
TORONTO, CANADA - FEBRUARY 14: LeBron James #23 of the East Team jumps the opening tip against Kobe Bryant #24 of the West Team during the NBA All-Star Game as part of the 2016 NBA All-Star Weekend on February 14, 2016 at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE (Photo by Charlie Lindsay/NBAE via Getty Images)
TORONTO, CANADA - FEBRUARY 14: Kobe Bryant #24 of the Western Conference All-Stars is greeted by LeBron James #23 after playing in his last NBA All-Star Game as part of the 2016 NBA All Star Weekend on February 14, 2016 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
TORONTO, CANADA - FEBRUARY 14: LeBron James #23 of the Eastern Conference shakes hands with Kobe Bryant #24 of the Western Conference before the NBA All-Star Game as part of 2016 NBA All-Star Weekend on February 14, 2016 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - FEBRUARY 10: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers puts pressure on Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers during the first half at Quicken Loans Arena on February 10, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory copyright notice. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 15: Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers greets LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers after the game on January 15, 2015 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2015 NBAE (Photo by Juan Ocampo/NBAE via Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - FEBRUARY 17: LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat and the Eastern Conference drives on Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers and the Western Conference during the 2013 NBA All-Star game at the Toyota Center on February 17, 2013 in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - FEBRUARY 10: Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers and LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat plead with a referee during a game at American Airlines Arena on February 10, 2013 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 27: LeBron James (L) and Kobe Bryant (R) look on during a press conference ahead of the London 2012 Olympics on July 27, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
ORLANDO, FL - FEBRUARY 26: LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat and the Eastern Conference and Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers and the Western Conference react late in the second half during the 2012 NBA All-Star Game at the Amway Center on February 26, 2012 in Orlando, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Kobe Bryant (L) of the L.A. Lakers playing for the West team, gets past East Team's LeBron James of the Miami Heat during the All-Stars Game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on February 20, 2011. The game won by the West team 148-143 is the 60th NBA All-Star Game showdown between the Eastern and Western conference superstars. AFP PHOTO/Mark RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - JANUARY 19: Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers and LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers stand together during their game at Staples Center on January 19, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2009 NBAE (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)
BEIJING - AUGUST 24: (L-R) LeBron James #6 and Kobe Bryant #10 of the United States pose with their gold medals after winning the men's gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games against Spain at the Beijing Olympic Basketball Gymnasium on August 24, 2008 in Beijing, China. The United States defeated Spain 118-107 to take the men's gold medal. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2008 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Beijing, China  Wednesday, August 20, 2008) Kobe Bryant, left and teammate LeBron James share a laugh from the bench as the last minutes tick away in a 116Â85 USA win over Australia in the Men's Olympic Basketball Quarterfinals in Beijing. (Photo by Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
USA's Kobe Bryant (L) and USA's Lebron James share a laugh as they sit on the substitutes' bench during the men's quarterfinal basketball match USA vs. Australia on August 20, 2008 at the Olympic basketball arena in Beijing, as part of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. USA won 116 to 85. AFP PHOTO / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
(EXCLUSIVE, Premium Rates Apply) Kobe Bryant, winner Under Armour Undeniable Performance Award, and LeBron James **Exclusive** (Photo by KMazur/WireImage)
CLEVELAND - FEBRUARY 13: Kobe Bryant #8 of the Los Angeles Lakers shares a moment with LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers during pregame warm ups prior to their game on February 13, 2005 at Gund Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2005 NBAE (Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Ben Rohrbach is a staff writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at rohrbach_ben@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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