In one of his recent interviews, Kobe Bryant said he is no longer interested in basketball as he previously was and that he turned a new page in his life trying to achieve different goals no longer related to basketball. Even though he no longer wishes to be involved in basketball, Kobe said he is always available, especially for younger players that need advice.
Kyrie Irving is one of those players who reached out to Kobe several times in his career and during that process they got close. In a recent interview for SiriusXM, Kobe shared more insight into the mentorship role he has nowadays and why he is the closest to Kyrie Irving among active players in the NBA.
I have a few of them. Kyrie is certainly one of them. I remember sitting on the couch at home when Cleveland came back from that 3-1 deficit and beat the Golden State Warriors and my phone rings and it’s a facetime call and I hate facetime calls unless it’s my family. And it’s Kyrie and he is in the locker room celebrating. So I was really really proud of him and I would say Kyrie is probably the one I’m closest too.
Kobe said there is a difficult task in front of Kyrie if he wants to win a championship with the Celtics. As their leader, he will need to figure out what their strengths are and get the most of out of his teammates, especially in tough situations.
The next move for him is figuring out how to get the most out of the pieces around him. That is really hard. How do you find an emotional connection with each player? Figure out what their fears are and help turn those fears into strengths. And to do that you need to put time into and I’m not talking about time in the gym. I mean time listening at breakfast, lunch, dinner, talking to guys, listening to them.