During his 20-year career in the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers, Kobe Bryant was always hungry for knowledge on how to improve his game on both ends of the floor. From a 17-year-old fresh out of high school to a savvy veteran at 37, Bryant never stopped his pursuit of trying to be the best basketball player he could be.
Recently, fellow retired star, Kevin Garnett, talked about Bryant’s hunger for knowledge on NBA on TNT during his Area 21 segment. Former Laker and arguably one of the best defenders in NBA history, Gary Payton, made an appearance and was asked by Garnett if he remembered Kobe asking for advice on how to be a better defender during an All-Star Game in 2000.
As Payton and Garnett pointed out, young players today don’t seek out advice from the best players in the league in the way Bryant did when he was coming up in the league.
Kobe reached out to numerous great players for tips on how to improve with Payton being one of many. Bryant famously had an ongoing relationship with Michael Jordan throughout his career and asked for his advice on more than one occasion.
Retired center Hakeem Olajuwon also gave Bryant some pointers on footwork and post moves later in his career.
With players today not as open to seeking advice from their peers as Bryant was during his two decades in the league, it’ll be interesting to see what kind of impact that can have on future generations.
Obviously, there’s plenty of talented young players in the league, with the Lakers currently having a young core with a few potential stars emerging like Julius Randle, D’Angelo Russell, and Brandon Ingram, but there’s no telling what the league will look like or if players will even have the desire to improve defensively or in other areas in the years to come.