Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant did not become one of the greatest just by minding his own business. On top of spending lonely nights in the gym, Bryant was relentless with fielding questions to his coaches and players he looks up to.
His former colleagues have shared fascinating anecdotes about Bryant's immense curiosity. Michael Jordan, considered the greatest of all time, was not just the ghost Bryant was chasing. Jordan was also his number one mentor. So much so that even Bryant retired, Jordan shared that they would still talk about the game until the wee hours of the morning.
NBA legend Kevin Garnett has a Kobe Bryant story from April 1996. This was around the time he was wrapping up his stellar rookie year. Garnett, the first high school player in 20 years to head to the NBA then, did relatively well for himself, as he was named into the NBA All-Rookie Second Team. But from a team standpoint, the Timberwolves only won 26 games and missed the playoffs. After a bittersweet game, Garnett recalled that his teammates were thrashing the locker room, causing all sorts of havoc. Amid all the chaos, Garnett saw a 17-year-old Kobe Bryant sitting in his seat.
The equipment, guys picking up stuff, people getting showers going like this. So I saw a kid sitting in my seat and I thought maybe somebody’s son. So I was like what’s up get right here? He was like 'what’s up yo what’s up, I’m Kobe Bryant, I’m trying to come to the league.' And I had just walked into the locker room like who the f*ck’s son is this?
Kevin Garnett, ">The Million Dollaz Worth of Game
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It would be interesting to find out what the two talked about in that fateful first encounter. As Garnett pointed out, Bryant was already bent on making it to the NBA. The young Mamba was well-aware that Garnett was the first high school player in two decades to head straight to the league. Perhaps Bryant was asking for some tips? Who knows?
All we know for sure is that Bryant, a few months after his first encounter with Garnett, would be picked 13th overall by the Charlotte Hornets and then traded to the LA Lakers.
Bryant and Garnett would cross paths numerous times in regular-season games, the All-Star weekend, the playoffs, and the NBA Finals. They were even inducted into the 2020 Hall of Fame, which some say is the greatest class ever.