Trevor Ariza reveals how Kobe Bryant changed everything for him in NBA
Trevor Ariza had a special bond with the late, great Kobe Bryant. Despite being teammates in the Los Angeles Lakers for just two seasons, Kobe had served as Ariza’s mentor from an early age. Recently, Ariza opened up about the unique relationship he had with Bryant, and how much the fallen legend meant to him.
According to Ariza, it was Kobe who pretty much changed everything for him in the league:
“Kobe was the one who totally changed my perspective of the game,” Trevor Ariza said about his time with the Lakers legend, via Jackie MacMullan of ESPN. “Everything small or big, it all mattered the same to him. His attention to detail was what separated him. You can be a great athlete, a great scorer, but what if you are playing hurt and can’t get to the spot you normally like to operate from? Kobe’s the one that showed me how to pay attention to angles, to footwork, to the nuances that can take you a long way in situations like that. He broke down the game differently than anyone I’ve ever seen.”
Much has been made about Kobe’s God-given talent, and how his unbridled skill level propelled him to become one of the best ever. However, one cannot ignore Bryant’s mental approach to the game as one of the main contributors to his greatness. For Ariza, he firmly believes that this is exactly what set Kobe apart from the rest.
One of the last times Ariza was able to talk to Kobe Bryant was back in October of last year. Ariza, who now plies his trade with the Portland Trail Blazers, hit his good buddy up for a hook up with Nike.
“I called Kobe up and said, ‘What’s up bro?'” the former Lakers star recalled. “I said, ‘I need you to press the play button. I need my kicks.’ The next day, my Nike PE 4s showed up on my seat. I sent a picture to thank him.
“Man, I looked at that text for a long time today. Ever since Bean has been gone, the world is in turmoil.”
It has been seven months since Kobe’s tragic passing in January. However, it is clear that despite his departure, his legacy — both on and off the court — continues to have a significant impact on the lives he was able to touch.