Los Angeles Lakers center Tarik Black is known for his work inspiring ethic on the NBA floor, but it may be what he represents off the court that is most impressive. The 25-year-old big man stands out in a crowd and it’s not just because of his 6’9″ frame. Black is a leader and approaches both basketball and life with a disciplined determination.
Initially, Black went undrafted in 2014, but quickly signed a deal with the Houston Rockets. He was waived on Christmas Eve that year and the Lakers jumped on the opportunity to claim the bouncy big man, hoping that the potential that he flashed in Houston could help their young squad. This gave him the opportunity to spend to spend some time with one of the best players of all-time in Kobe Bryant.
Black recently spoke to Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated and says he learned about much more than basketball from the Lakers legend:
“We sat on the plane one time and just talked about family and how they ask for money. We talked about how to set my family up for success. We talked about business. We talked about investments. He opened my eyes to investments and handling money. He said on the plane one time he was like, ‘Tell me about your bank accounts.’ You know he doesn’t beat around the bush. He was like, ‘You need to learn about this stuff.’ I read. He got me some books that I read all the time. He was like, ‘You need to start reading books, learning.’ ”
It’s this mentality that truly sets Black apart. Most players simply want to thank Bryant for everything he did for the game or to get his signature. Black was more interested in finding out about what made Bryant tick, what allowed him to find so much success off the court as well as on.
Black has big goals for when his NBA playing days come to an end. He plans on using his Master’s in African American studies to help underprivileged children in his hometown of Memphis. While he thrills Lakers fans with rim-rattling dunks on the court, what he does off of it will be even more important.