Following his retirement from the game, Kobe Bryant became a mentor for plenty of young players. The Los Angeles Lakers legend never wanted to become a coach, but he gave some insightful inputs to all the players that reached out looking for advice. The Black Mamba was really great at it, impacting plenty of players' lives.
However, before that, Kobe showed his competitiveness and unique mindset to everybody, even if he was friends with them off the court. KB24 only cared about winning regardless of who he had to beat and what he had to do to reach his goal. That's how he became a successful player, one of the best of all time.
He didn't mince words when talking to the younger generation, and Kevin Durant learned that the hard way. The 2x NBA champion recalled one of the best encounters he had with Kobe, where the legendary player made sure to get the last laugh even after the Oklahoma City Thunder had beaten the Los Angeles Lakers.
In a duel between these two megastars, Bryant humbled KD, saying he wasn't on his level yet, even if he won that match. In a 2017 interview, the now Brooklyn Nets player expressed:
“Yeah it was the day before the All-star break and we were beating them pretty good at OKC. And, and, you can basically say [Kobe said] you can have this game, but you can’t sit at my table.”
Short but precise. That's how Kobe's trash-talking was. He never gave up and even if you got the best of his team, he was ready to fire back with his words. His competitiveness was unmatched, and he never hesitated to use different tricks to get under his rivals' skins.
After calling it a career, Bryant embraced a different role, started new projects, and kept pushing himself to the next level. Unfortunately, we lost him in January 2020 when he and eight other people, including his daughter Gianna, lost their lives in a fatal helicopter crash.
Still, those good memories from Bryant won't be erased anytime soon. He left a huge mark on the game and showed why he was different every time he had the chance. Kobe was a different breed.