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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Praises Kobe Bryant For Being Mature As A Teenager During His Rookie Year: "He Never Seemed Intimidated But Was Eager To Play And To Excel."

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Kobe Bryant is widely viewed as one of the best players in NBA history, and there's no doubt that he was one of the most electric talents that the league has ever seen. Bryant was a player who took the toughest shots but also one that made the toughest shots, and many consider him the most skilled player ever.

There is no doubt that one of the things that drove Kobe Bryant to get better every day was to be the very best. Bryant wanting to be the very best was part of his nature, even during his rookie season. He was used to dealing with high expectations, as Bryant already had immense expectations for himself.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Found Kobe Bryant's Maturity As A Rookie Remarkable

We have seen a lot of players be unable to cope with the spotlight and the expectations. However, Kobe Bryant was someone who was willing to embrace those things, and there's no doubt that the pressure was on him ever since he joined the Los Angeles Lakers as a teenager.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has recently lauded Kobe Bryant for his maturity as a teenager during his rookie year in an article on his Substack. Abdul-Jabbar noted that Bryant "never seemed intimidated", and wanted to "play and to excel".

I’d seen a lot of promising players fold when they started to play in the pros. The physical and emotional pressure of game after game is relentless. And the expectations of the fans is like a tidal wave rising and rising as you anticipate it dropping on you. Kobe showed remarkable maturity and poise for a teenager coming onto a team of veterans. He never seemed intimidated but was eager to play and to excel.

For more of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's thoughts on Kobe Bryant, click here to read his Substack

Even though he didn't immediately have a star-level impact, Kobe Bryant quickly became a star-level player, making an All-Star team during his sophomore year in the league. He then proceeded to become the all-time great that we know today. There's a possibility that this doesn't happen if he had a low-level of maturity and folded early in his career, but it's clear that Kobe Bryant had the mental fortitude to withstand the challenges of being a rookie with expectations on a team full of veterans.

There is no doubt that Kobe Bryant's legacy is set in stone, and many have a lot of respect for what he was able to do during his career. His desire for excellence started early in his career, and his Mamba Mentality was something that was always with him, even when he was a teenager.