Kobe was known for his incredibly curious nature. Because of his inquisitive spirit, Kobe would often call up some of the best players in the game to pick their brains. These phone calls were not limited to players only, Kobe would call anyone. He was determined to work on his craft more than anyone else in the world, period.
Reggie Miller was one of the first NBA stars to develop a relationship with the youngster, and it all started because the two shared the same agent — Arn Tellem.
Arn called me up and was like: Do you mind talking to his young kid, and show him what the NBA is all about, how to conduct yourself. I’m like: OK, yeah sure, I’ll talk to this kid.
Uncle Reg and Kobe were scheduled to play a game against the cast of the Real World (TV reality show). When they got to the location, all Kobe wanted to do was play Reggie one-on-one and learn his go-to moves.
So we get there, and we’re playing soft 1-on-1, I’m doing my stepback jumper, and he’s like how do you do that move? And I show him. Because I was trying to take things from him as well, he had this killer crossover; I’m like: how do you do that? So we’re exchanging our go-to moves.
Well, our conversation turned into text messages and phone calls every day because he was gathering information.
A few years later, during the 2000 NBA finals, when the Pacers faced off the Lakers, in game 4 of the Finals in Indianapolis — Shaq fouls out, the game goes to OT and Kobe takes over. Then a 21-year-old beat the Pacers single-handedly in overtime. He used Reggie’s signature move against him — the stepback jumper, the same move Reggie taught him several years ago during the aforementioned film set.
As he’s running down the court, he pats me on the back and says “you never should have shown me that step back.”