Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant maintains he will never come out of retirement to play professional basketball again, but he remains heavily involved with the game.
Along with coaching his daughter’s team and producing “Detail” on ESPN to help the next generation of players, Bryant has been working out with a select group of players. While Bryant revealed he worked out with Kyle Kuzma, the one that made headlines recently was a training session with Jayson Tatum.
With Tatum being the No. 3 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft by the Boston Celtics, his favorite player growing up was Bryant, but his father made him watch Paul Pierce videos instead.
As the 20-year-old prepares for his sophomore season, he detailed his meeting and workout with the five-time champion on “The Bill Simmons Podcast:”
“I got a chance to sit down and talk to him first. I got to meet with him, and we talked about a lot of things; basketball-related, non-basketball related. I tried to get into his minds and see how he went about things. Just trying to get better each year. What he wanted to improve on year after year so he didn’t backtrack or be complacent. His will to just be the best and strive to get better every year. That’s one thing I found interesting. When we were working out, he said his thing was just trying to break the game down and make it as simple as possible. He said the year he averaged 35, all he worked on in the summer time was the pivot foot. Trying to play off both pivots. He said, ‘That’s all I did for the entire summer. I expanded off a move from each pivot and a counter move to that.’”
During his rookie season, Tatum displayed some impressive skills especially for his age and took his game to another level during the playoffs. After working out with Bryant, it will be interesting to see what jump he makes heading into the 2018-19 NBA season.
As Tatum is looking to help the Celtics reach the 2019 NBA Finals, the Lakers’ young core is looking to do the same. With both teams having a good mix of veterans and prospects, the greatest rivalry in all of sports could be renewed in the near future.