The last couple of years, Kobe Bryant has continually dealt with injuries, but the first and arguably most devastating was the torn Achilles in 2013. The sight of Kobe walking off the court after knocking down two free throws against the Golden State Warriors will go down as one of the most iconic moments of his career.
Dallas Mavericks guard/forward Wesley Matthews suffered the same injury last season as a member of the Portland Trail Blazers. While the recovery process is approximately a year, Matthews was ready by opening night and credits Kobe.
According Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News, Kobe preached the need for patience to him during his recovery:
“Patience. You can hear that from somebody like him, who is obviously has the drive and work ethic that most people don’t even have half of,” Matthews said in an interview with Los Angeles News Group. “For him to say patience is a big thing.”
Matthews noted that the words really set with him especially because they came from Kobe himself, via Medina:
“I’m not patient by any means, either,” Matthews said. “I feel like we’re cut from the same cloth. For him to say that, it set with me right away. I was trying to mentally prepare for it. But you can’t prepare for it until you’re in the thick of it.”
Matthews defied a lot of odds by recovering from the injury so quickly. He tore his Achilles in March and was ready on opening night for the Mavericks, who signed him to an $80 million contract in the off-season.
This is another case of Kobe imparting his wisdom not only on his teammates, but his NBA peers. Julius Randle has consistently pointed to Kobe as someone who helped him through his recovery last season, and Matthews experienced the same.