Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant may have retired last April, but he isn’t far from the minds of NBA players. New Orleans Pelicans rookie Buddy Hield, for example, grew up watching Bryant play and was thrilled when his idol attended March Madness games at the Honda Center to see him play.
However, Bryant’s relationship with Hield didn’t end there. In a piece for The Player’s Tribune, Hield recalled a workout he had with Bryant a month after the NBA Draft, which included practicing one of Bryant’s most famous moves:
The way we did our shooting drills impressed me even more. It was different. After warming up, we didn’t do a normal shooting workouts — like taking 10 shots from one spot and 10 from another. Kobe was having me copy specific moves he was doing, and then repeating them over and over until I got bored of doing them. It wasn’t like one dribble to the elbow for a jumper, it was full sequences — moves that you might not even attempt once a game.
One move started in the high post. Kobe pump-faked at the free throw line and reverse-pivoted into the lane for a floater.
He made me do that one move maybe 100 times in a row while he watched.
As Hield mentioned elsewhere in the article, there were even rumors that the Lakers could select Hield with their second overall pick (they instead took Duke’s Brandon Ingram). The thought was that Hield’s workouts with Bryant could push him to Los Angeles, but it wasn’t meant to be.
While he may no longer be putting on a jersey, Bryant’s fingerprints are still noticeable around the NBA and his exploits won’t soon be forgotten by those who grew up watching him bring five championships to Los Angeles.