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“Couldn’t be prouder of you if you were my own son”: When Bill Russell had some inspiring words for the late Kobe Bryant

Arjun Julka
|Wed Sep 08 2021

NBA legend Bill Russell had some touching words for Kobe Bryant during the 2008 NBA All-Star. The Black Mamba was having an MVP season during the time.

Bill Russell is one of the greatest ambassadors of the game created by James Naismith. Russell was one of the initial superstars in the NBA. An 11x champion and 5x MVP, the Hall of Famer even has the Finals MVP award named after him.

Though the veteran played in an era that wasn’t hugely televised, one cannot deny that Russell was a generational talent who had complete dominance on the hardwood.

The 12x All-Star is the only player in NBA history to coach the same team he played for. Nonetheless, Russell would succeed in his additional role as a coach as well, winning 2 championships.

Also read: “LeBron James is not coming to the Lakers until you clean up this sh*t here”: Kobe Bryant’s advice to Jeanie Buss ahead of recruiting the former Cavs superstar

Russell was a huge advocate for the young talent in the NBA. However, the Celtics legend was an ardent fan of Kobe Bryant.

Bill Russell and Kobe Bryant had a heart-to-heart conversation during the 2008 NBA All-Star.

Kobe was at the pinnacle of his career during the 2007-08 season. The Lakers were the top seed in the Western Conference during the time. Kobe had parted ways with Shaquille O’Neal and was on his way to establishing himself as an all-time great.

The Black Mamba played all 82 games during the season and was crowned league MVP. The Lakers superstar averaged 28.3 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 5.4 APG, and 1.8 SPG on a 45.9% shooting from the field.

During the All-Star break, Bill Russell and Kobe Bryant were captured in an iconic moment. The Celtics legend had nothing but praise for the 18x All-Star.

See I watch a lot of your games, said Russell. You see, when I watch your games I try to pick out what each player’s agenda is and to see how well he’s carrying that out. That’s the way I watch it. Seriously, I Couldn’t Be Prouder Of You If You Were My Own Son and that’s the truth.

Also read: “Kobe Bryant might have been the only person not to flinch at that”: Matt Barnes on faking the ball right at the 5x NBA champion’s face

Unfortunately, Kobe Bryant passed away in a tragic helicopter crash in 2020, leaving millions of his fans teary-eyed. However, the legend’s memories and the iconic Mamba Mentality continue to inspire many across the world.

About the author
Arjun Julka

Arjun Julka

A 26-year-old from Mumbai. A huge Basketball fan who regularly consumes hours of basketball content, be it matches, debates, or analysis. Some of my other interests include CrossFit, watching documentaries, collecting sneakers, and trying out different types of cuisines.

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