During his playing days with the Los Angeles Lakers, Kobe Bryant was responsible in being pivotal to the franchise winning five NBA championships as well as often providing clutch, memorable heroics on the court.
Now two years removed from his retirement, Bryant’s impact is still being felt across the sports world, whether it be in the NBA or other leagues. Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum recently revealed that he pursued a basketball career largely in part to idolizing Bryant as a child.
The recently-turned 40-year-old also affected the career path of Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr. He shared that he grew up studying Bryant’s work ethic and currently applies his same tendencies in games and practices, via the Raiders:
“When I was young, I wanted to follow the most competitive person I could find. And so out of everyone I looked at, I thought that Kobe was the most competitive person out there. And so I began read, I watched videos, interviews, documentaries, everything. And as I began to watch him and learn, then I’d watch him work on the court and in practice then I would watch him playing the games and it inspired me. It instilled a work ethic in me that my dad taught me. He taught me what hard work was. And then watching Kobe showed me how to do it. Showed me how to be determined and to just keep going until you win. I love that guy so much. To have someone like that, who you looked up to forever, reach out, it inspired me even more. And it drives me every single day to where we can just championships, because that’s what he did.”
That Carr, despite the differences in their respective professions, pinpointed Bryant as the most competitive athlete he observed is a testament to the 18-time NBA All-Star’s everlasting legacy that will be felt on new generations of players alike.
Carr, a lifelong Lakers fan, credits Bryant for his passion and drive to deliver a Super Bowl to the Raiders and previously shared that he embraces Bryant’s “mamba mentality” every time he steps on the gridiron.
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