Kobe Bryant might be one of the most fundamentally sound guards in NBA history, but it's more than the fine points of playing the game that he's helping his young teammates with. The Los Angeles Lakers have been grinding out two-a-day practices through training camp, and the work hasn't stopped there for Bryant. He's been spending time talking to his fellow Lakers about the emotional and mental aspects of the game, imparting the knowledge he can about what it takes off the court to become great in the NBA.
"It's just talking and sharing some of my stories and they want to know about how I did it. I'm just very frank and candid with them. I think it sinks in, " Bryant told Baxter Holmes of ESPN. "It's important that they find their own way. I can only provide them with some of the knowledge and information that I have."
Developing a young group of high-potential players for their own journey through the NBA is key for the Lakers, and while Kobe's basketball abilities will certainly help guide them, the wisdom he can share as he enters his 20th season in the NBA is arguably even more beneficial. Talent without direction can only go so far.
This kind of tutelage is key for the Lakers, who need both of their lottery draft picks to blossom quickly in order to escape the basement of the Western Conference. What kind of things are they talking about? "What happens when players come in, first pick, second pick, third pick, and some go on to have great careers and some just fall by the wayside. And why do you think that is? What do you see," Bryant said.
Julius Randle or D'Angelo Russell falling to the "wayside" would be a disaster for the Lakers, but Kobe's already in their heads, providing what he can to cultivate a culture that can bring the most out of them. Cramming as much into a single season as possible has become one of the most important facets of the season as uncertainty surrounds how much time the Black Mamba has left in his playing career. So far, it sounds like the kids are happily circling around him for story time.