Now we know it for a fact that Jayson Tatum is not just a fan of Kobe Bryant, the man is obsessed with the legend like most Lakers fans are.
In one of the biggest games of his life, Jayson Tatum paid tribute to someone who inspired him: Kobe Bryant 💜
— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) May 30, 2022
As it turned out, that wasn’t his only way of channeling his inner Mamba Mentality. In a screenshot shared on Instagram after sealing the berth to the Celtics’ first NBA Finals in 12 years, Tatum revealed he sent a text message “I got you today” to Bryant’s former number just hours before tip-off.
And now a day before Game 2 against the Golden State Warriors, came out dressed precisely like Bryant when he worked out for the Celtics before the 1996 NBA Draft.
Jayson Tatum is dressed for practice exactly like Kobe was for his Celtics workout. pic.twitter.com/AEx3NFuGul
— Taylor Snow (@taylorcsnow) June 4, 2022
Jayson Tatum wearing Kobe Bryant ‘s pre-draft Celtics gear sends fans wondering
Tatum since his childhood has been a big fan of the Lakers legend. They first met when the Celtics star was still a kid with a big dream.
Years later, after his rookie year, Bryant and Tatum trained together during the off-season when Kobe was two years into his retirement. They formed a close bond, and it became evident in Tatum’s game who significantly improved his game 3rd the year onwards and went never missed an All-Star appearance since.
— WEEI (@WEEI) July 27, 2018
But that very season, in the latter half, at the start of the year 2020, Kobe passed away in a tragic helicopter crash along with his daughter Gigi leaving the world in shock. Tatum has since been remembering his idol and mentor-cum-friend in his ways.
And as he came out wearing Kobe’s Boston training gear on Saturday, some fans went down the memory lane and were thinking about the fact that Bryant could easily have been a Celtic and Tatum could have been a Laker if the clubs picked their drafts more wisely.
Crazy to think Kobe could have been a Celtics
— Chris McSwain (@_Macdezzy) June 4, 2022
….And Tatum could of been a Laker. Pretty wild to think.
— Thin Diesel (@_MrKMunroe) June 4, 2022
The Celtics picked Antoine Walker with their 6th pick in 1996 even after having tried out Bryant pre-draft and saw the future 5x champ would go to the Charlotte Hornets (then traded to the LA Lakers).
Meanwhile, 21-years later, the Lakers passed over Tatum to pick Lonzo Ball as the 2nd pick in 2017. Who knows what the Purple and Gold would miss out on. But the thought of Tatum and LeBron James playing in the same team must be scary for everyone else in the league.