Now entering his 19th season with the Los Angeles Lakers, Kobe Bryant comes into this season with a Lakers team unlike any one he has been a part of in the past. This is no longer a veteran laden team, but rather, Kobe is one of the few veterans surrounded by a lot of young talent.
This is a stark contrast to what Kobe has been used to during his time with the Lakers, and it will require a change in his leadership style. That is something that he is apparently embracing as he said during media day on Time Warner Cable SportsNet:
Individually, my game’s gonna be fine. The important thing, like I said, is getting to know the guys that I’m playing with, and helping them to kind of find that inner beast. How to think through situations, and how to mentally prepare themselves. That’s really the key for me this year.
Bryant has been criticized in the past for his leadership qualities and how he has treated teammates, but he has become a completely different person as he has gotten older.
By embracing more of a coaching and teacher role, Bryant will benefit his teammates as well as himself. He is clearly the best player on the team, but the Lakers will need to rely on their young players more than ever and Bryant must get them ready.
The most difficult thing for young players in the NBA isn’t the physical part, it’s the mental part. Kobe helping them with that could prove to be a huge difference in the careers of many of these young guys.[divide]
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