Kobe Bryant hasn’t stopped providing interesting insight in his post-playing career and, this week, he was up to his old tricks yet again. This time, the future Hall of Fame swingman was prompted on the difference between when he wore No. 8 with the Lakers in his early years and when he wore No. 24 down the stretch of his fantastic stint in Los Angeles.
As you may expect, Bryant was philosophical in his evaluation, indicating that No. 8 and No. 24 were “almost two different people in a sense. In describing No. 8, Bryant said “Having a certain mentality of coming into the league where you’re literally head-hunting everyone. Right? Because it’s your time to establish yourself and say, ‘No, I belong here.’ As a result, everybody must go.”
From there, he indicated that a “certain maturity level” was reached when he switched numbers mid-career and that his mentality was “less about your self-domination” and more about aiding his teammates in pursuit of a common goal.
Not to be outdone by his own previous comments, Bryant even came through by describing No. 24 as having “really old grandfatherly wisdom” and even pledged that he would have told his former self to “keep head-hunting” in an effort to bridge the gap in the best possible fashion.
In some ways, what Bryant is saying makes complete sense. As a youngster, he was the second option alongside Shaq a great deal of the time and, given that he wasn’t anointed as the top draft pick or anything close to it, Bryant had much to prove in his early years. Then, he morphed into the alpha dog that most remember at this point and, even with detractors, there was little doubt that Bryant was a transcendent force during his extended prime.
Listening to Kobe Bryant talk about Kobe Bryant is always entertaining and this didn’t disappoint in the slightest.