Even after his retirement from the NBA, Kobe Bryant kept his foot in the basketball world, being a mentor to players and making frequent appearances in the media.
Back in 2019, Bryant created this tradition called the "Mamba Mentality Challenge," in which he would give out specific challenges to stars.
Funnily enough, one of his challenges was directed to Denver big man Nikola Jokic. Bryant challenged him to win MVP, a task that seemed almost far-fetched at the time.
But credit must be given to Jokic, who rose to the occasion and actually won the MVP (which was nearly unanimous) this season, just two years after Bryant issued him the challenge.
Obviously, we can't say for certain if Kobe's "Mamba Mentality Challenge" actually helped inspire Nikola to win, but it wouldn't be all that surprising. After all, Giannis Antetokounmpo delivered on his own "Mamba Mentality" challenge not so long ago.
As one of the best players ever, Bryant didn't just dominate the game physically. He also dominated the game mentally as well, and his famous "Mamba mentality" became synonymous with hard work and dedication.
Looks like some of that may have rubbed off on the Joker because he's working as hard this year as he ever has before. Kobe, no doubt, would be very proud.