at 24, Jayson Tatum is arguably the Laker Celtic of them all. Much more than Clyde Lovellette or Rajon Rondo, the only two title players with the two franchises. And that’s probably because his mentor and role model is named Kobe Bryant.
An icon that, two years after his sudden death, is still having a significant impact on the Boston winger’s career. During Game 7 in Miami, Jayson Tatum also wore an armband in tribute to the Lakers legend and shared on Instagram: the photo of a text message sent to Kobe Bryant’s numberas motivation.
” Everyone knows how much he means to me.”recognized the C’s All-Star after qualifying for the final 2022.” We know he’s my idol, we know he’s my favorite player. I just wanted something from him in Game 7, the most important game of my career. And it worked. »
Like Kobe Bryant, it was NBA or nothing for Jayson Tatum
For years, Jayson Tatum modeled his game on Kobe Bryant. He constantly consumed videos of the “Black Mamba” on television or on the Internet.
A real obsession that began in the 2000s and that nothing and no one has been able to alleviate. After all, if he was going to pursue a career in basketball, he had to be inspired by someone…
” I remember my dad saying to me, “Don’t just watch his baskets, don’t just watch his shots come, but watch how hard he’s working to make himself available, his demeanor, his efficiency with his body, his feints and his footwork’. This is where I really started to pay attention to details said the youngest Eastern Conference Finals MVP.
Precisely because he wanted to get into the NBA more than anything else, Jayson Tatum never thought of a plan B. Like Kobe Bryant and other great players before him, he only wanted that one goal.
” I was like, ‘What’s your plan B, just in case [tu n’atteins pas la NBA] ?’ remembered her mother Brandy. ” Then one day he looked at me and said, “That’s the difference between me…” and then he named a whole bunch of people. “These people have a contingency plan, a plan B.” Her exact words were, ‘Mom, it’s either that or die’. I replied that maybe there could be something else for him, like coaching, I’m trying to find something else for him. But he was adamant: it was this or nothing. »
It’s an understatement to say that the “mamba mentality” has been running through Jayson Tatum’s veins since he was a teenager. The boy from Saint-Louis, Missouri, who described himself as a former Celtics “hater,” didn’t pay much attention to comments from his mother, who, despite this deep yearning, kept telling him he couldn’t be Kobe Bryant .
” My favorite player was Kobe “, explained on this topic the main interest in 2018. ” Even before that, when I was 4 or 5 years old and my mother asked me who I wanted to be when I grew up, I answered that I wanted to be Kobe. My mom then asked me if I wanted to play in the NBA and I said to her, ‘No, I want to be Kobe’. He was just my favorite player. I had his posters, all his jerseys. He was my player. »
On the trail of the “Black Mamba”
A player with a legendary work ethic that inspired Jayson Tatum as he grew older. Heartbroken and angry after every defeat, never one to take rest or time for themselves, the now franchise player Boston hasn’t stopped following in Kobe Bryant’s footsteps.
Then the ex-Duke resident finally arrived in the NBA, with 3rd choice status of the 2017 draft, and he knew how to talk about him right away. In particular, bringing the C’s from his rookie season to the Eastern Conference Finals while re-engaging the attention of the former Lakers…
” I started talking to him during the playoffs ‘ he recalled, alluding to that famous summer of 2018 they trained together. ” He told me to contact him when I’m in LA and let me know if I want to go to the gym with him. Then it happened and I remember that day I was sweating, my heart was racing and I was going to the gym and I was like, ‘Damn, Kobe’s here and I’m in it… Wow’. […] At one point during a workout I remember he would show me something or tell me what to do next and I would sit there and be like, ‘Fuck, I’m training with Kobe Bryant.’ »
At just 20 years old, Jayson Tatum was privileged to work with one of the Orange Ball’s greatest scientists, and today he still struggles for words as he reflects on that unique moment. ” A childhood dream comes true says Brandy Cole of this private training session.
” He’s an icon, he’s achieved so much Added the Boston player who is still a fan of Kobe Bryant in 2022. The way he did things, the way he behaved, the way he did it… He was different. That’s the best way to put it: he was just different, he wasn’t like everyone else and he did things his way. When he died you could see a lot of people my age and even older people said he was the reason they worked so hard and started playing basketball. »
Make Kobe Bryant as proud as possible
Even if his mentor and role model is no longer there to see him succeed and thrive in his role franchise player of the Celtics, Jayson Tatum never stops paying tribute to him. Both on and off the pitch.
” Whether we’re in the regular season, the playoffs, or the All-Star Game, all he’s ever done is follow and imitate Kobe ‘ his mother, Brandy, supported. ” On the court, in life, at All-Star Weekend, on the national team. »
With Team USA in particular, it came as little surprise to learn that Jayson Tatum reclaimed the number 10 from Kobe Bryant at the 2019 World Cup and then at the 2021 Olympics.
” As this is the first Olympics since his death, wearing this number has even more value and I don’t take it lightly. “, he announced in the summer of 2021.” I remember wanting to be number 10 on my first basketball team. Everyone knew Kobe was my favorite player. I was 15 and got to wear my favorite player’s number. I felt connected to him. »
After all, the only regret Jayson Tatum might have is that he didn’t get to make Kobe Bryant proud while he was alive. Just as he won his first All-Star Game selection in 2020, a month after the death of the “Black Mamba”.
” It’s a mixed feeling because I’m sure Kobe would have been there and I’m sure Jayson would have gotten a text or a call from him to congratulate him. ‘ Brandy Cole complained. ” He would have been happy if Kobe had been proud of him. But I already know he knows Kobe is proud of him. And if he keeps that mamba mentality, he’ll become an enduring All-Star, an MVP contender, and everything in between. »
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