Kobe Bryant and Damian Lillard created a very good relationship both on and off the court, given their similar mentality and if you want, their styles of play. Lillard had the utmost respect for Kobe and it was the other way around, although the Portland Trail Blazers star has recalled that he had to earn that.
After that, they became close and Lillard recently revealed that Kobe even helped him get better on the court and even outside of the arena, giving him a big piece of advice on how to take his game to the next level and be closer to winning an NBA championship. Bryant told Lillard he needed to be ready and always prepared to face his opponents, something that Dame treasures from the moment Kobe told him.
“A lot of it had to do with film,” Lillard told Sports Illustrated. “He watched a lot of film on the best defenders and how they defended him. He watched full games. And he would always say, You will be surprised how often people do the same things. … And if you can learn people’s patterns, and you can learn their tendencies and habits, by watching them game after game, you’ll see that they do the same things, and you can take advantage of it. And you can manipulate that. Then I started to do that. That really helped me.”
The closest Lillard has been to the NBA Finals was in 2019, when the Blazers had a very good run that ended in the Western Conference Finals, getting swept by the Golden State Warriors. Still, he's trying to win that ring with his team and using every advice Kobe gave him while he was in this world.
They are very similar and even Raja Bell claimed that Dame is the closest thing we have to Kobe right now. The 30-year-old has never hidden his admiration for the Lakers legend, even dropping a song when he homaged Kobe and all the good things he did on the court.