Jayson Tatum says he has learned a lot from Kobe Bryant, plans to continue working out with him
The Celtics and Lakers have a lengthy history. Though its diminished in recent seasons, the rivalry that exists between the two teams goes back to the NBA’s inception. Despite that fact, Jayson Tatum is becoming a disciple of Kobe Bryant — one of the greatest players to ever wear a purple and gold uniform.
Bryant, who’s now enjoying retirement, seems to be taking Tatum under his proverbial wing. In fact, the two players spent some time on the practice court together over the summer.
“I learned a lot training with Kobe and will continue to work out with him,” Tatum tells Boston.com. “He’s one of the best players to ever play this game, so there’s just so much I can learn from him, from a mental standpoint and just a detail-oriented standpoint.”
Tatum caught Bryant’s eye last season. At 20 years and 61 days of age, Tatum became the youngest player in NBA history to record 20 points or more in four consecutive playoff games, breaking Bryant’s record. When Kobe did it, he was 20 years and 272 days old. Kobe also featured Tatum on an episode of Detail last season.
“He was the reason I wanted to play basketball [as] a kid,” Tatum said last year on Bill Simmons’ podcast.
Now in his second season of NBA service, Tatum is continuing to develop his game. The former Duke Blue Devil has made 58 appearances with the Celtics this season, racking up averages of 16.5 points on 45.3 percent shooting from the field (37.9 percent from beyond the arc), 6.3 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.0 steal and just under one block (0.8) in 31.2 minutes per outing.
Rivalries aside, there seems to be a Young Mamba in the making. And the fact that Tatum is ready to learn more is a testament to his work ethic. Let’s see where he takes Kobe’s advice from here.