The Kobe Bryant farewell tour has been filled with stories of the Los Angeles Lakers star imparting inspiring words to aspiring players. The list of stars who shared their Black Mamba stories includes Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat. Adding to the group is Isaiah Thomas of the Boston Celtics. While the rivalry between the Marcus Smart squad and the D'Angelo Russell team has always made headlines, it looks like Bryant can see past the purported rift.
In the final game of Bryant against the Boston Celtics, Thomas sought the assistance of his team to arrange a meeting with the NBA legend. The point guard initially hoped to have a few minutes with his basketball idol. In fact, Thomas simply wanted to have his jersey signed by the Black Mamba. However, what Bryant did next caught the Boston Celtics star by surprise.
According to Thomas, the Los Angeles Lakers star did not only indulge him with his time but also sat down with him to share valuable words of wisdom. "He [Bryant] came and sat down and talked, just me and him, for like 20 minutes," revealed Thomas, according to the Boston Globe. He added, "It was probably the best talk I've ever had."
During their conversation, Bryant also advised Thomas against allowing himself to be distracted by minor things in life. The Black Mamba then proceeded to share a story of a lion eyeing its prey. According to Bryant, the sheer focus and concentration of the animal allow it to achieve its goal.
"He told me this story about how a lion seeks food, whatever he's gonna kill and eat," shared Tomas. The Boston Celtics star added, "And you know how many bugs are on the lion's eyes and gnats on his body? He's so locked in on that zebra that he doesn't get distracted by anything else. He said if you get distracted by little things, then you're not as locked in as you think you are. He said for me to be a lion, and that's gonna stick with me the rest of my life."
The effort of Bryant to spare time for Thomas signifies that the Los Angeles Lakers star has let go of his team's rivalry against the Boston Celtics. However, it looks like rookie Russell remains cognizant of the competition and intends to go on with it in the years to come.
"We know that the rivalry still stands, even though the Mamba is retiring. That rivalry's never gonna die," wrote Russell in his social media account, referring to the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers rift.
As the Black Mamba shares his wisdom with other NBA stars, his home squad might be experiencing turbulent times. In the game against the Phoenix Suns, fans saw Julius Randle act out and get into the nerves of Byron Scott. Asked to explain the issue, the Los Angeles Lakers head coach cited Randle's immaturity as the cause of the problem.
"He's got to grow up," said Scott of Randle, according to ESPN. He added, "Simple as that." Randle was taken from the court in the later portions of the Phoenix Suns game. According to Scott, the young NBA star had been playing poorly in the defense which led to the move to get him out of the court. The Los Angeles Lakers won the said game 97-77.
Scott said of Randle, "I think the main thing I don't like is, when you take him out of a game, how he acts sometimes. But again, I chalk it up to immaturity and just being inexperienced at this level because it's going to happen again. I'm going to take him out of other games that he's not going to like."