During Kobe Bryant‘s 20 seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers, ‘Mamba Mentality’ inspired the current and future generations of basketball players.
While Bryant retired following the 2015-16 NBA season in which he scored 60 points against the Utah Jazz, he continues to inspire through the art of storytelling with projects like ‘Dear Basketball’ and ‘The Punies.’
As Richard Sherman recently credited Bryant for helping him with his Achilles injury before the 2018 NFL season, the 40-year-old revealed how he motivated Pau Gasol.
Coming off the 2008 NBA Finals loss to the Boston Celtics and 2008 Olympics loss to the United States, Bryant hung his gold medal in Gasol’s locker, according to Lewis Howes of The School of Greatness:
The Gasol trade during the 2007-08 season turned the Lakers into championship contenders, but he simply did not match Kevin Garnett and Kendrick Perkins‘ physicality in his first NBA Finals appearance. However, he quickly redeemed himself in the 2009 and 2010 NBA Finals against the Orlando Magic and Celtics as the Lakers won two championships.
In a time when players are friends with their opponents, Bryant is considered the last of a dying breed with his willingness to challenge his teammates. To his credit, Gasol did not shy away from the challenge and it established a lifelong friendship.
Although Bryant is focused on Kobe Inc. and Granity Studios, he remains involved with the game of basketball. In addition to coaching his second daughter’s basketball team, Bryant has been working out with numerous players during the offseason.