Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant was a student of the game of basketball.
He studied both the greats that came before him and his contemporaries, picking up their strengths and working strenuously to avoid their weaknesses.
That said, there was one player whose game he did not model himself after.
And the reason he avoided doing so was because of some advice he got from Kareem-Abdul Jabbar.
That advice? Don’t be like Darryl Dawkins.
“Darryl spent so much time being a clown and not focusing on the finer aspects of the game,” Abdul-Jabbar said in 2020, as reported by USA Today. “Darryl was just incredibly and physically gifted like Shaq. But he didn’t understand his potential and use it the right way. That is something that Kobe would never do. Kobe would’ve gotten every ounce out of his potential, which he did. You saw the killer that he was. That’s because he learned how to use it the right way and use his talents in the best way. I have a lot of respect for him. He got the best from his game and he played the smart game.”
Bryant would listen to that advice and ultimately become one of the all-time greats.
Russell Wilson stays winning. https://t.co/30J5QQ1yvQ
— Game 7 (@game7__) September 30, 2021
In recent years, particularly due to his premature death, a lot of interesting tidbits about Bryant have emerged. Everything from his 2008 Olympics experience to his opinion on who’d win 1-on-1 between him and LeBron James to the two sides of his personality. Each piece of information is inevitably more fascinating than the last.
Although Bryant may be gone, it’s safe to say he will never be forgotten.