Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant mesmerized fans like few before him have. From fadeaways to slam dunks he always found a way to amaze fans when they thought he could not anymore. Many have looked up to him as inspiration because he demonstrated impeccable work ethic and a drive to win that is unmatchable. Players like LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Shaquille O’Neal have said that Bryant is among the greatest to ever play the game.
Young players in today’s NBA had the privilege of having watched Kobe transcend into the player he was during his illustrious career, with many admiring him as their favorite player growing up. One such player was Jayson Tatum, the third overall pick in this year’s NBA Draft by the Boston Celtics.
According to Chris Forsberg of ESPN, Tatum revealed that Bryant used to be his favorite player until he was drafted by the Lakers arch nemesis:
“Yeah, that’s my favorite player,” said the 19-year-old Tatum before catching himself.
“He was — then I went to the Celtics.”
It is understandable that Tatum would suddenly change his opinion about Bryant now that he dons the green and white. The rivalry between the Lakers and Celtics goes back decades when both teams would frequently clash with each other in the NBA Finals.
There was a lot of bad blood between the teams and it often made for exciting basketball. Now a Celtic, it was probably in Tatum’s best interest that he not have a Lakers legend listed as his favorite player even it is Kobe.
Tatum’s play in the NBA Summer League has many fans excited for the future of Celtic basketball. He has been compared to the likes of Paul Pierce and Carmelo Anthony because of his scoring ability and it is already showing up. The addition of Gordon Hayward has made expectations high for franchise looking to add an 18th NBA Championship. Playing in a relatively weak Eastern Conference with an emerging young core of players, the Celtics success could arrive sooner rather than later, much to the dismay of many Lakers fans.