Kobe Bryant was a great scout, no doubt about it. The Los Angeles Lakers legend was really great at identifying players that could do good in the NBA and until the moment he left this world, he was a master at it.
He was a mentor for plenty of players and gave a lot of advice to the ballers that are ruling the league now or will be the future faces of the competition. Kobe had a lot of knowledge and he never hesitated to share that with younger stars. One of those was Jayson Tatum and the Black Mamba actually admired the Boston Celtics player.
Back in 2017, as Tatum entered the NBA, Kobe was shown a couple of videos of him and he was delighted with the teams he saw. NBA skills coach Drew Hanlen showed Kobe a video of Tatum and the Lakers legend was really excited with the teams he saw.
Three years ago, in 2018, Hanlen revealed that Kobe even asked why the Lakers hadn’t drafted Tatum, who went to the Boston Celtics instead.
"It was cool. We actually showed Kobe it yesterday, and he was like, 'Why didn't the Lakers draft him?' Which was pretty funny after seeing that. Jayson idolized Kobe," Hanlen said, via USA Today.
After that, Tatum had the chance to work out with Kobe, learning a lot of things from the 5x NBA champion. Tatum is now one of the best young players in the league after his level improved following his training sessions with Bryant.
The admiration he had for the Lakers legend was so big that before the NBA draft, he wanted to follow Kobe’s footsteps and join the purple and gold, but the Lakers took a different direction, drafting Lonzo Ball instead.
Now Tatum is trying to make history with the Celtics, just like Kobe did with the Lakers. The Mamba left a big mark on the game before his tragic passing and players like Tatum will carry his legacy in the NBA.