Saying it’s been a rough week for young Sixers star Jahlil Okafor is a massive understatement. The team suspended its rookie big man on Wednesday after several incidents popped up in the news, most notably a pair of fights that allegedly occurred during a recent trip to Boston. He also came under fire for a report that he was pulled over for going 108 miles per hour under a bridge.
One person wants to help Okafor as he’s going through a rough patch – Lakers guard Kobe Bryant. According to Bryant, he spent some time talking about being a pro with Okafor before, during, and after the Sixers beat the Lakers in Philly on Tuesday, and advised the youngster out of Duke to “stay focused and to continue to work on his game.” As Bryant explained to Randy Miller of NJ.com, it’s really easy for a player to get in trouble in 2015 due to technology.
“Everybody has a camera with a camera phone,” he said. “You pick up on mistakes a lot more now than you would in the past. Not to say some of the heroes that have played here before haven’t made those same mistakes, but it’s just now the content gets captured so quickly.”
Bryant ended by extending an invitation to any young player, saying that he’s always willing to take a few minutes and talk. Bryant’s not just willing to talk about ball, as he said he’s willing to talk about anything that’s on their minds.
Considering that he’s been in the league since 1996, Bryant probably knows better than anyone what it means to be a professional basketball player. Good on him for reaching out to the league’s younger players and trying to steer them in the right direction.