Retired Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant is one of the most polarizing figures in NBA history. Basketball fans around the world basically either loved him or loved to hate him, but however they felt, they cared.
Perhaps that’s why Bryant never really seemed to care what people thought about him, an attitude he shares with Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green.
Green saw his name dragged through the headlines during the 2016 NBA Playoffs after repeated instances of low blows, which many deemed as intentional. This eventually led to a suspension for Green during the NBA Finals, and after the Warriors lost, Green went to Bryant for advice.
In an interview with Clay Skipper of GQ.com Green reveals:
“I was going through all that s*** with the media and with the kicks and I was f***ed up,” Green says. “So I called Kobe [Bryant], and said, ‘[This] s***’s killing me, because these people are painting me to be something that I’m not, wondering, would I kick anybody on purpose? I wouldn’t kick anybody on purpose. It’s f***ed up.’”
Bryant’s words, according to Green: Ninety-eight percent of people are okay with mediocrity or less. Guys like Bryant and Green, though, they’re out for something different—greatness. So, Green remembers Kobe saying, “as long as you wait for them to understand you, you’re f***ed.”
That type of sentiment is pretty much to be expected from Bryant, for whom basketball and winning were the only two things that really seemed to matter, and it apparently stuck with Green as well:
“It was the best s*** I ever heard,” Green says. “Because it gave me an understanding of why people don’t understand me. I’m so crazy competitive. I put my competitiveness up there with anyone. How could someone understand that? It’s a different level.”
Green is right that most regular humans aren’t competitive enough to understand the minds of professional athletes like himself and Bryant, because it truly is a different level.
In the end, it is great to hear that Kobe continues to pass down his vast wealth of knowledge to any players willing to take it. Even though he’s retired, he is still impacting the league.