Los Angeles Lakers players haven’t exactly been known for getting along with members of the Boston Celtics throughout NBA history, a sentiment that went double for Kobe Bryant during the time period surrounding the 2008 and 2010 NBA Finals.
However, some things are bigger than basketball rivalries, plus, Bryant has retired now anyway. The former Lakers star also knows a few things about catastrophic injuries and the frustrating recovery process that can result from them after tearing his Achilles tendon and only rarely being able to show flashes of the player he was afterwards.
Maybe that’s why Bryant decided to post a motivational message for Boston Celtics star Gordon Hayward after he broke his ankle early on in the Celtics’ season opener against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Or perhaps it was the fact that the two have a personal relationship after Bryant spent time working out with Hayward two summers ago.
Either way, the message was inspiring and is almost-certain to leave Hayward feeling at least a little better via Bryant’s Instagram:
Be sad. Be mad. Be frustrated. Scream. Cry. Sulk. When you wake up you will think it was just a nightmare only to realize it’s all too real. You will be angry and wish for the day back, the game back THAT play back. But reality gives nothing back and nor should you. Time to move on and focus on doing everything in your power to prepare for surgery, ask all the questions to be sure you understand fully the procedure so that you may visualize it in your subconscious while being operated on and better the chance of it’s success. Then focus on the recovery process day by day by day. It’s a long journey but if you focus on the mini milestones along the way you will find beauty in the struggle of doing simple things that prior to this injury were taken for granted. This will also mean that when you return you will have a new perspective. You will be so appreciative of being able to stand, walk, run that you will train harder than you ever have. You see the belief within you grow with each mini milestone and you will come back a better player for it. Best of luck to you on this journey my brother #mambamentality always.
This is the type of storytelling and motivational speaking Bryant has become known for as much as anything during his post-playing days, and his transformation into the NBA’s own Tony Robbins has been amazing to watch since he hung up his Nikes.
If Hayward can hit his recovery as hard as Bryant always hit his own, then he’ll probably be recovered in the quickest timeframe possible.