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"I have this mentality and I've been around a guy like that" — DJ Mbenga on Kobe Bryant's Mamba Mentality

Mbenga also shared a Mamba Mentality point of view while giving the Mavericks roster advice that would make them title contenders.
Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant and New Orleans Hornets center D.J. Mbenga

Kobe Bryant and DJ Mbenga

Most basketball fans believe Kobe Bryant was unique. Mamba Mentality was something the NBA hadn’t seen before, and it’s only apropos that the famous mantra gets the majority of the credit in Bryant’s legacy. But while even the all-time greats on the same footing as Kobe never dared to say they have the same mentality as the late NBA legend, former Los Angeles Lakers journeyman DJ Mbenga made himself an exception.

Cut from the same cloth?

For those who didn’t know, Mbenga played three seasons with the Lakers and won two NBA championships with Bryant. So, when he flew to the Philippines to play pro basketball, Mbenga was asked to share a few things about how it was to have played alongside “Black Mamba.”

Like most former Lakers, Mbenga said he also learned from Kobe. However, what made “Congo Cash” different from others was that he had actually had that same winning mentality as Bryant his entire career. Hence, it was a perfect match.

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You learn more, and the more you learn more, the more you learn how to be humble, the more you can assess and the more you understand what you need to do,” Mbenga said of playing with Bryant via Spin. “I have this mentality of winning. When I lose, it’s the end of the world for me. I was raised like that. I have this mentality and I’ve been around [Kobe] a guy like that [too].

A champion’s advice

Whether we believe it or not, Mbenga indeed played with Bryant, and we should take his word when he speaks about winning. Apart from that, Mbenga also knows how it feels to be on the other end, having been a member of the Dallas Mavericks team that lost to the Miami Heat in the 2006 NBA Finals.

Regardless of his role on those teams mentioned above, “Congo Cash” earned the right to give some championship-inspired advice to either the Lakers or the Mavs.

For Mbenga, the Mavericks have a better chance of winning the title this season, but he thinks the team should bring in more size and energy first.

They have to get a good big man who can bring the good energy and rebound and block shots. Especially the energy, because that’s the key,” Mbenga said of the Mavs ahead of the current season. …Bring in a good big man who can defend, and the most importantly, bring in people that bring energy, so people who come in the game can come in and have an impact.

Spoken like a true follower of Mamba Mentality. 

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