Thus far in retirement, Kobe Bryant has seemed most interested in two things: Storytelling in various forms, and training basketball players individually.
Bryant’s interest in training shouldn’t surprise anyone who listened to him throughout his career. He’s always wanted to pay it forward as previous greats did with him, and boasts one of the greatest skillsets and worth ethics the game of basketball has ever seen. Any wisdom he can impart on young athletes would be fascinating, but is especially so in this latest case.
According to Shaunie O’Neal, former wife of Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe has taken an interest in their kids’ development (via TMZ/Yahoo Sports):
“Kobe always offers (to train him) … we’re just so far from each other, but he always offers.”
The first lesson, one would imagine, from Kobe to Shaq’s kids are to ignore anything they hear their dad say regarding “company time.”
Jokes aside, it is pretty cool to see that ridiculous “Kobe vs. Shaq” feud reach the point where it is now, where it’s so crystal clear that their immaturity is behind them. Sure, there are probably aspects of how it all went down that they disagree on, but it says quite a bit about the situation that Kobe is offering to help.
Shaq’s oldest son, Shareef, is heading into his first year at UCLA this next season and is one of the nation’s top basketball prospects (ESPN has him at No. 32 in the country). Shareef, a power forward standing at 6’10” might benefit from another big man’s coaching, but Kobe did have one of the better all-around post games throughout his career, so maybe that’s how he’d help.
If you’re a UCLA fan, it’s probably a good thing that Kobe would show interest in O’Neal. As many have pointed out, Kobe doesn’t waste his time on players whose games or work ethics he doesn’t respect, so this is at least a good place to start for any Bruins fans wanting to get even more excited about one of the country’s top recruits.