While the Los Angeles Lakers and their fans say their final farewells to Kobe Bryant, his everlasting legacy will remain a part of the NBA. The ferociousness and intensity the 18-time All-Star played with is rarely matched in the NBA today.
Bryant’s competitiveness was an outlier, often compared to that of Michael Jordan. The determination to win is just about a big motivator as they come, compared to trying to prove your worth in a league with players attempting to take your spot.
For the new era of stars, there will be quite the act to follow. Bryant’s former teammates can attest to his work ethic, as well at those who opposed him. Boston Celtics rookie Jaylen Brown was in awe of Bryant’s work ethic, attempting to model his game after the 2007-08 league MVP.
Ronnie Price, who played for the Lakers during the 2014-15 season, experienced Bryant’s outlook on the game first hand. Price signed a two-year deal with the Oklahoma City Thunder this offseason, after previously playing for the Phoenix Suns.
The Thunder opened up their annual media day on Friday, opening questions to the entire roster and staff. When asked to compare Bryant to Russell Westbrook, Price stated there are some similarities, via Fred Katz of CNHI Oklahoma:
Ronnie Price says Russell Westbrook and Kobe Bryant are "very similar, very methodical abot their approach."
— Fred Katz (@FredKatz) September 23, 2016
Price’s comparison does have some validity, as perhaps Bryant would agree. In early April, Bryant admitted the comparison was accurate, in regards to their no-nonsense outlook.
That same drive to succeed fueled Bryant in his Hollywood finale when he dropped 60 points against the Utah Jazz. Now that Bryant has entered a phase of life aside from basketball, he has had time to reflect on his career and those around him.
In late August, Bryant went the extra mile in stating that Westbrook is the current NBA player that reminds him most of himself.
Westbrook, who had to part ways with Kevin Durant in free agency, enters the 2016-17 season as the top dog. With a growing Thunder team around him, Westbrook now is free to take the reigns and dominate more so than he has ever done.