While Kobe Bryant has remained focused on developing and growing his off-court business ventures, the Los Angeles Lakers legend has maintained loose ties to the organization he starred for and sports in general.
Bryant recently attended the Lakers All-Access event at Staples Center, where he discussed the young core’s development, poked fun at Golden State Warriors fans, and restated his confidence in the team’s direction under LeBron James’ guidance.
Beyond that appearance, the five-time champion has made of habit of addressing various teams. Over the past year he’s paid a visit to the New England Patriots, Philadelphia Eagles, L.A Rams, USC Trojans, Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide, and L.A. Chargers.
The Cleveland Browns were the latest to hear from Bryant, as he spoke with the team ahead of their matchup with the Denver Broncos. The moment was particularly special for Baker Mayfield, who explained what he learned from his idol, via Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com:
“I have a tremendous amount of respect for Kobe,” Mayfield said after the game. “He’s just one of those guys, attitude-wise, there’s no one else in the world like him. He’s just unbelievable. He was one of my idols growing up, I’m not good at basketball so not like that, but just mentality-wise. Work ethic, determination, will to win. It was so awesome getting to hear from him. He was so honest about everything and you don’t normally get to hear that from somebody. It was good for us to hear that and I really enjoyed that.
“It was like a Q-and-A so there wasn’t one message,” said Mayfield. “The one thing you hear about, that mamba mentality, that’s true. He’s a dog when it comes down to it.”
Continuing a bit of an improbable run, the Browns went out and defeated the Broncos on the road for a fourth victory in their past five games. Mayfield was 18-for-31 and threw for 188 yards to go along with 2 touchdowns to support an impressive defensive effort.
However much of a long shot as it remains, the win helped the Browns keep hope alive of ending the NFL’s longest playoff drought.