Jerry West claims ‘a lot of players’ have Kobe Bryant’s mentality, and not ‘the skill’
After the introductory press conference for Kawhi Leonard and Paul George on Wednesday afternoon, L.A. Clippers consultant and former Los Angeles Lakers general manager, Jerry West, spoke to a small group of the media right outside of the Green Meadows gymnasium in East Los Angeles.
Among the questions sent West’s way was about a retired superstar, he knows all too well, Kobe Bryant. George mentioned being a huge Kobe fan while growing up in Palmdale. Fans of the former Lakers great quite familiar with Mamba Mentality with Bryant embraced and made famous in the final decade of his career in the NBA. West talked about this infamous mentality and the one thing people don’t usually have to pair with it on this level of basketball.
“Kobe played the game with a greater flare than the other people,” West said. “I hear the “Kobe mentality” all the time. There’s a lot of players that have the mentality, but they don’t have the skill.”
In order to make to the NBA level, a player has to be exceptional in many different ways on and off the basketball court. Few players can pull this off, let alone reach the heights that Bryant did during his time with the Lakers.
Although it’s hard to point out specific players in the league today with the same ferocity and determination that Kobe played with, West may have a point in terms of players embracing a Mamba-Mentality mindset and coming up well short in the skills department. George could be the exception as he’s shown flashes of brilliance on both ends of the floor while showing the will to beat the odds and come back from a gruesome and career-altering leg injury a few years ago.
“Players watched how Kobe competed, and he has so many fans out there even today that saw him play,” West said. “Particularly players of this age. Young and up-and-coming players will be looking at the players today and who’s going to be their hero, but Paul [George] is a terrific two-player as you see. Very quiet. Softspoken, but he’s a hell of a player. He really is good.”
With George in the fold alongside Leonard in Los Angeles, the Clippers will try to impose their will in the Western Conference as well as in Los Angeles where they’ll have some stiff competition at the Staples Center.
LeBron James and company have reloaded with the additions of Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins along with notable players like Danny Green, Avery Bradley, Jared Dudley, and Quinn Cook. The Lakers will look to bounce back from a disappointing 2017-18 campaign and finally end their playoff drought while potentially being legitimate title contenders at the same time.