We haven't seen many players in the history of the NBA, let alone these days, who have the same kind of motor that Kobe Bryant demonstrated throughout his 20-year career. His will to win was second to none, he was willing to pay the price that others weren't to come out on top, and he wasn't afraid to get aggressive with teammates to bring out their best.
In his final season, Bryant decided to take on a sort of mentorship role with Green, contacting him on a number of occasions to give him advice beyond x's and o's.
“After playing all these years, I feel it’s important to share whatever knowledge I have with [Green], and with other young players as well,” Bryant told Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle.
Bryant, on what wisdom he's tried to impart on Green:
“How to listen and understand who your teammates are,” Bryant said, “and what they may be going through, and how to drive those things out of people. And also perspective of what people (outside the team) might say about you, in terms of having a bad reputation, or you’re a dirty player.
“You can’t let that stuff bother you. You have one job to do, and that’s to bring out the best. What the outside world says is really irrelevant. You can be a nice guy (to the outside world), but if you lose a championship, you’re a loser. … That’s what I tried to explain to Draymond: Don’t worry about the outside world, that’s not important. The important ones are your teammates. How can you guys get the best out of each other.”
It appears that Bryant was drawn to Green because he sees a lot of his own qualities in him. More from Ostler:
“Draymond is a rare breed in this day and age,” Bryant said. “He’s a competitor, and he’s not afraid to show he’s a competitor. He’s not afraid to address certain issues with teammates and with (opponents) that may seem uncomfortable. He’s a challenger.”
Bryant added, “He has great intuition. He’s studied the game a lot. He’s a historian of the game, he asks a lot of questions about old stories and players, and what they would do here, what they would do there. I think he cares about a certain depth of the game, whereas the majority of young players just stay on the surface.”
This is an invaluable relationship for Green, and one that will continue to help in his development as a leader in Golden State. Stephen Curry is their MVP (as well as the league's), but Draymond is the heartbeat of the Dubs.
Bryant took lessons from the likes of Michael Jordan and veteran role players in Los Angeles like A.C. Green, and now he's on the other side of the equation. He'll no longer be on the court, but Kobe's influence will be felt across the league for a long, long time, whether it be with Green or any other young player fortunate enough to receive his teachings.
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