Back in 2017, Kobe Bryant issued a series of challenges to various famous figures via his Twitter profile, NBA players included. Kobe basically steered individuals on the path of maximizing their talents, on both personal and professional scale.
Isaiah Thomas was challenged to make the All-NBA First Team in the 2017-18 season, while DeMar DeRozan was asked to “rekindle a lost friendship from youth in Compton.” The likes of Kendrick Lamar was challenged to revolutionize the music program at Centennial High School, while Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman got the goal of “breaking the Seahawks single-season interception record.”
The one who felt left out was The Greek Freak, and he took on twitter to pursue the challenge from Black Mamba. Bryant responded with a simple “MVP,” setting the bar at it’s highest. Two years later, Giannis delivered and is on his way to doing it again, being the favorite to win the 19-20 regular-season MVP.
Kobe Bryant was and always will be a benchmark for greatness for NBA players, not only on the court but off the court as well. And this wasn’t about Kobe Bryant tweeting about all these famous figures. It was more about him publicly recognizing their potential and planting a seed of Mamba mentality to thrive in whatever it is that they do continuously. They all felt privileged to get the recognition from the character that was Kobe Bryant.
The ones who were luckier, received a tangible memory of No. 24, something they can put on the shelf. Devin Booker is among them, as he received Kobe’s game shoes from the last time he played the Suns. Bryant wrote “be legendary,” giving Book the ultimate piece of inspiration, and an everlasting memory of his childhood idol.
As it turned out, Klay Thompson is also a part of that group. He shared a gift given to him by Kobe. It was a copy of his book entitled “The Mamba Mentality: How I Play,” which was released in 2018. What made it special is Bryant’s inscription on the inside cover, where he wrote: “rings rings rings rings.”
If Bean was literal, Klay is one ring shy from the goal Bryant had set him on a cover of his book. But it wasn’t about that; it was more about the mentality of keeping winning as his primary goal and doing all it takes to finish the season victorious.
Klay is doing just that, as he had already won three championships with the Warriors. He is following the path of his favorite player growing up. It’s all about the rings with him, as it was with Mamba. It makes Klay a worthy of such a special gift.