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Kobe Bryant defends LeBron James — but does the King deserve it?

James had every right to leave Cleveland, particularly after the franchise appeared to be making little effort in assembling talent around him. But announcing his free agency intentions through a one-hour special on ESPN was both narcissistic and self-serving, and it made James appear to go out of his way to spit in the city of Cleveland's face, all hid under the cynical touting that this special benefited the Boys & Girls Club.   James may have also felt the constant pressure and the 24/7 state of the Heat analysis proved too reactionary and contradictory. But he invited that himself when he boasted in a hastily arranged pep rally that the Heat were going to win "multiple championships."  "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." But that's exactly the point. Unlike Bryant, James couldn't handle that pressure, whether it was fair or unfair. Hence, the ongoing criticism. As much as he believes fans should just "back off" from scrutinizing the King, Bryant knows fairly well that the biggest cure in minimizing that attention points to one thing and one thing only: winning. RELATED: LeBron James spectacle discomforting in so many ways Kobe Bryant pours cold water on Besiktas talk NBA lockout: How will work stoppage affect Kobe Bryant's scoring? –Mark Medina Email the Lakers blog at Photo: Kobe Bryant, left, LeBron James. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

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