Guard Jalen Green is widely considered a top prospect in the 2021 NBA Draft after forging his own path through the G League. He is now hoping to follow in the same footsteps to basketball immortality as Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant.
Rather than go the traditional route of college, Green opted to play for the G League Ignite in order to develop his skill set. The move clearly paid some dividends after averaging 17.9 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game.
The exposure has helped Green establish himself as a consensus Top-3 pick in this year’s draft. It appears he is not shying away from any high expectations coming his way.
In fact, Green’s high school coach Brad Roznovosky says he is even hoping to draw comparisons to Bryant himself, via Kelly Iko of The Athletic:
“He’s always said he wants to be No. 1,” Roznovosky said. “He wants to be compared to Kobe. If you asked Jalen today, he can tell you that you’re crazy if you don’t take him No. 1.”
NBA comparisons have long been a write of passage for incoming rookies. It takes a certain level of confidence for a young player hoping to garner a comparison to any Hall of Famer.
However, this is extremely prevalent for those looking to stack up to Bryant. So, of course, this type of mentality became a staple in Bryant’s legacy and was something that he helped pass on to the next generation of NBA superstars.
Fortunately, Green is now off to a promising start after a stellar year with the Ignite under head coach Brian Shaw, who is also Bryant’s former teammate. He even shot an impressive 46.1 percent from the field and a 36.5 percent clip from three-point line in an offense that featured elements of the triangle in it, thanks to Shaw.
Many doubted Bryant for coming straight out of high school as a guard, and it did not take long for him to prove the doubters wrong in the NBA. Green has managed to make the most out of his own route to the league and is looking to do the same against teams that may be daring to pass on him.