Russell Westbrook tells an inspiring story about playing a game against the late Kobe Bryant in his sophomore year at UCLA.
Russell Westbrook’s admiration for the Black Mamba is no secret. Brodie has always viewed Kobe as his friend, brother, mentor, and idol. Westbrook’s competitive zeal and bustle draw many parallels to what Kobe was as a player.
When asked which current NBA player reminds him of, Russell Westbrook replied Kobe. The Lakers legend believed Russ had absorbed the mamba mentality into his game, fighting for every possession and playing every game as if it was his last.
Westbrook first met Kobe during the premiere days at UCLA. The 5x champion had come to play pickup in college and would play a pickup match against a 16-year-old Westbrook. However, Kobe being the murderer, showed no mercy towards the young child, annihilating him.
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As Westbrook prepares for his debut with the Lakers this coming season, he opens up about his relationship with the late Lakers legend on Jimmy Kimmel Live.
Russell Westbrook recalls his first meeting with Kobe Bryant
During his recent interview with Jimmy Kimmel, Westbrook recounted his first meeting with Kobe Bryant as a child at UCLA. Russ was in his second year at the time.
“It’s after I go into my second season at UCLA and a lot of pickup games were going on at UCLA. Lots of superstars would come, but that day Kobe came and I’m now, I’m super excited, and I’m super motivated and excited to compete.
The 2017 MVP added,
“For me, Kobe is the best in the world and I had the opportunity to compete and me, and Kobe you know not come and go because he was basically killing me but it’s okay.”
“But lesson # 1 I learned was to watch him and to this day I think we all know him as Mamba Mentality, but when I was younger and watching him he was competing like it’s the final. “
It is clear from the above interview that Kobe was the fiercest contender during his time in the league. Westbrook had mentioned on several occasions that Kobe was his idol and how he hopes to be like him one day.
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It’s a surreal moment for Westbrook, who are gearing up to make their purple and gold debut this coming season, with the Lakers being one of the favorites to win it all this season.