Kobe Bryant has now been retired from professional basketball for over three seasons after a legendary 60-point game in his final one to conclude the 2015-16 NBA season.
However, it’s clear that Bryant has had a long-lasting impact on the game as players like Trae Young want to work with him on their game.
Young was selected by the Dallas Mavericks with the No. 5 pick in the 2018 NBA draft and was subsequently traded to the Atlanta Hawks. As a 2018 NBA draftee, he never once has played on a court with Bryant, but it is now an era of basketball where rookies no longer grew up watching Michael Jordan. Instead, they have players like Bryant and LeBron James to turn their attention to.
Young will reportedly finish his obligations with Team USA and then spend some time working with Bryant on his midrange game before training camp opens up on Aug. 19, according to Chris Kirschner of The Athletic:
The plan is for Young, after he’s finished with his Team USA training camp obligations at the start of August, to travel to Newport Beach, Calif., before he has to report back to Atlanta on Aug. 19 and work on his midrange game with Kobe Bryant. Last summer, Bryant worked with Boston’s Jayson Tatum before the start of his sophomore season. Twenty-two percent of Tatum’s shot attempts this past season were considered long 2-point shots, ranking him in the 95th percentile.
This is not the first time Bryant has done this for a current player, as he has famously worked out with Jayson Tatum and Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Although Bryant has maintained on several occasions that he wants no part of being in an NBA front office, he may have a knack for developing players.
With Antetokounmpo, Bryant challenged him to win MVP via Twitter, worked out with him the following summer, and he proceeded to win the prestigious award for the 2018-19 season. Bryant has always said that he’s open to working out with anybody on an individual level, but won’t get involved on the team side of things.
For Young, developing a Bryant-like midrange game could be huge. As an undersized guard with a killer jump shot, using Bryant’s ability to create space without help could change the dynamic of the way Young plays. After all, Tatum ranked in the 95th percentile in long twos in the NBA the summer after working out with Bryant.