The legend and impact of the late, great Kobe Bryant was felt far beyond the basketball world and into all other sports and walks of life in general. When it comes to those inspired by Bryant, Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts undoubtedly counts himself among them.
One of the best players in baseball, and a big part of the Dodgers’ 2020 World Series championship, Betts was able to build a bit of relationship with Bryant before his passing as both were Body Armor athletes. And Kobe was on the mind of Betts during his interaction with a fan this past weekend in Cincinnati.
During the Dodgers’ 8-5 win over the Reds, Betts would gift a fan with an autographed baseball bat for tossing back a home run ball. Afterward, Betts explained how the advice of Bryant inspired his actions.
“Those type of interactions are kind of everlasting. I think one of the last times I talked to Kobe, he just reminded me that by the time the game is over, somebody knows who you are and somebody recognizes you,” Betts said. “Obviously that’s through our play, but it’s another way for somebody to impact someone’s life. I wasn’t really doing it for cameras. I was just doing it because he easily threw the ball back and didn’t even ask for anything.”
For those who weren’t watching the game, Reds rookie TJ Friedl hit a home run that was not only the first long ball of his career but his first hit in the Major Leagues period. So Betts asked the fan who caught the ball to toss it back so that Friedl could have it to commemorate this milestone moment in his career.
Cameras later caught Betts gifting the fan with an autographed bat, and he noted that while he was going to simply toss the fan another ball, he felt the bat would be ‘something he remembers a little bit more.’
That might not mean much to some people, but as Kobe told Betts, it’s a memory that can will last forever for that fan. Everyone isn’t going to be a Dodgers fan, but Mookie Betts likely gained himself a few new fans with that classy gesture.
Betts has long been inspired by Bryant
This is just the latest instance in which Betts was inspired and helped by the words of Bryant. Betts has previously shared the advice that Kobe gave him to help him through a rough patch in his career and it is something the Dodgers superstar has never forgotten.
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