Kobe Bryant is a year removed from the big stage of the NBA but he continues to play the godfather role around the Association by coming to the aid of current NBA players that are eager to learn from him.
Earlier last week, Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas talked about how Bryant has been reaching out to him in the form of a text before and after playoff games. He also mentioned Bryant taking him through some film study as well.
Mamba is a clear fan after declaring that Thomas had a “Mamba mentality” while also nicknaming him “Mighty IT.”
If you thought Kobe corresponding with and mentoring a Celtic was bogus, it’ll surprise you that Bryant confirmed it. He went as far as saying they’ve had “many conversations” actually. This really shouldn’t be a big thing. Bryant said he also communicates with Cleveland’s point guard Kyrie Irving, Houston’s James Harden, Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook on a regular basis and also worked out with Utah’s Gordon Hayward this summer.
“I’m around for all the guys,” Bryant tells ESPN.com. “Anybody can reach out. It’s an open book.”
After the death of Thomas’ sister Chyna following a fatal car accident, he called to offer his condolences, which sparked the playoff-long dialogue between the two.
At the time, Thomas didn’t know whether he should miss the game to spend time with his family or to go ahead and play, so he asked Bryant.
“I told him, ‘Listen, I don’t know whether you should decide to play or not play. Obviously, none of us can begin to fathom what you are going through right now,'” Bryant said. “But then I told him, ‘The one bit of advice I would give you is, if you are going to play, then you gotta play. Maybe you can find some peace in moments out there.'”
After that conversation, he told Thomas, “If you ever need anything, just reach out. I’m here for you.”
Honestly, this type of unity within the NBA among former and current players is refreshing. There shouldn’t be any problem with Bryant giving Thomas advice simply due to the Lakers vs. Celtics age-old rivalry. I think it’s more of a personal thing for Bryant to let the past be the past and help the next generation of elite NBA players.