Russell Westbrook is one of the players that genuinely epitomizes the word mamba mentality and that hard works beat talent every day. In lights of the passing of Kobe Bryant, Russell Westbrook posted a memorable note for Kobe and the impact he had on Russell ever since he was a teenager. Both Bryant and Westbrook share a common trait of being ultra-competitive and passionate about the game of basketball.
Westbrook first met Bryant when he was only 16 at UCLA, where he had an opportunity to go against him in a pick-up game. The essential thing Westbrook remembers from this encounter is that Bryant played like it was the NBA finals and had a mindset of a real winner and a competitor. Westbrook said he and Bryant build a strong relationship during the last couple of years. Bryant often served as a mentor for Westbrook, always ready to give a piece of advice when necessary.
"I’ve been stuck and not really knowing how to put all that I’ve been feeling into words over the past several days. I am devastated about the passing of Kobe & Gigi, on every level. I met Kobe when I was 16 at UCLA playing against him in a pick-up game. He played like it was the NBA finals. From that point on, I decided that I wanted to emulate his Mamba mentality. At the time, there was no name for it, but I recognized in him what I always felt in myself. He became a friend, a brother, a mentor, a teacher, he defended me, he believed in me, and he taught me how to whether the storm. I can go on and on, but I want to thank you for being my idol, & inspiration. I will pray for you and your family everyday just as I do my own. I love you, Kobe. My heart and prayers also go out to the other families involved in last weeks accident."