CLEVELAND -- Of all of LeBron James' Nike campaigns -- from 'Pressure' to 'The LeBrons' to 'Together' -- one of the most popular came in the late-2000s when shoe company turned him and Kobe Bryant into puppets.
On Monday, Nike brought back the LeBron and Kobe puppets, in a series of ads designed to celebrate Bryant having his No. 8 and No. 24 jerseys retired by the Los Angeles Lakers.
The ads follow a common theme, with Bryant's puppet bragging to James' about having both of his jersey numbers retired.
In the first clip, titled "Uncle Charlie," Bryant dreams of a small child asking his uncle which Bryant was better: No. 8 or No. 24? An unimpressed James, however, is quick to remind the 'Black Mamba' that he has to find a way to get to Milwaukee by tomorrow, presumably for a Cleveland Cavaliers game.
In the second ad, "Handicrafts," Bryant shows great pride in the accomplishments and ambitions of his jerseys, while James -- still unamused -- continues his quest for a way to Wisconsin.
In the third and final act, "Burden," Bryant lets James know that he's doing him a favor by taking on the, well, burden, of having two separate jersey numbers retired. As Bryant discusses the "weight of the world" that his jerseys carried, James shakes his head before refusing to give the 5-time NBA champion the 'thank you' that he requests.
Bryant will have his two numbers -- which he wore for 10 years each -- retired on Monday night during a halftime ceremony during the Lakers' matchup against the Golden State Warriors. But while Bryant hasn't played since retiring at the end of the 2015-16 season, his legacy continues to live on, thanks in no small part to Nike -- and perhaps, his puppet.