As the primary Sixth Man of the Year candidate, Jordan Clarkson is having a spectacular season with the Jazz.
And while it's easy to look ahead and get excited about what is to come, looking back can reveal a whole lot about the development of his game, and how he ended up becoming one of the most prolific scorers in the league.
In a chat with USA Today, Clarkson told of an experience he had with Kobe Bryant on the Lakers, an experience that taught him about work ethic and attitude.
As the Lakers spent the 2015-16 season both celebrating Bryant’s final year and developing their young roster that included D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle, Larry Nance Jr. and Clarkson, Bryant either showed nostalgia during his farewell tour or frustration with the team’s losing. So after a regular-season loss in Portland, Bryant chewed out his younger teammates over their attitude, work habits and decision making.
“I remember him just really getting upset. You’ve seen him come out of his skin and grill us a little bit. But from that point on, I felt all of us had a different look at everything with what we wanted to do. That’s probably, in terms of development, a little wake-up call.”
Kobe was famous for his "mamba mentality," an approach that had him working harder and pushing further than his competition.
Say what you want about Bryant, but it's hard to look at his resume and not call his career a major success.
Clarkson has certainly had his ups and downs over the years, but it's clear he took a page or two from Bryant's book, and that moment when they were teammates will likely stay with him for the rest of his playing days.