There’s not much Kobe Bryant hasn’t seen or experienced during his 18 years in the NBA. He’s been through just about every high and low imaginable, from winning championships to missing basically an entire season. That wealth of knowledge is now maybe one of his greatest assets – not necessarily for him, but for the young players currently surrounding him on the Los Angeles Lakers.
One might think Kobe, given his immense pride, would resent this mentorship role because it tacitly acknowledges he has more to give off the court than on it. But as Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News reports, Bryant has embraced this role, sharing his wisdom with the likes of Julius Randle, D’Angelo Russell and Tarik Black.
Bryant reported most of the chapters touched on an his journey and what “separates good players from great players.” Bryant also explained how he has maintained longevity through his strong fundamentals, training techniques and constant recovery.
Bryant stressed becoming educated on what Lakers forward Tarik Black called “the business of basketball.”
“He’s kicking knowledge about handling your money, dealing with agents, how to play the game properly and what it takes to win,” Black said. “He’s sharing all the stories he’s been through. He’s been good to us.”
“He’s a borderline genius,” Lakers forward Julius Randle said of Bryant. “He hasn’t been shy sharing his knowledge, and his experiences with us on and off the court. It’s very helpful.”
A lot of these players grew up watching Bryant in his prime, and being teammates with an idol must be an intimidating experience. Of course they’re going to hang on his every word, but they may be afraid to ask for it in the first place. By seeking his advice, and receiving it from a mellowed Bryant, there now exists an air of approachability. It appears as if Kobe, never exactly a model teammate, is at least growing more patient off the court as he gets older. Whether this translates to better interactions with his teammates on the court remains to be seen, but it at least narrows the gap between Bryant and this new generation of Lakers.