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Former Bucks Guard Gets Candid on Kobe Bryant Refusing to Shake Hand in Rookie Season and Hitting Game Winner

Trikansh Kher

Former Bucks Guard Gets Candid on Kobe Bryant Refusing to Shake Hand in Rookie Season and Hitting Game Winner

Kobe Bryant was in a league of his own when it came to being ruthless about the sport of basketball. Even famous trash talkers like Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce avoided agitating Kobe, as the Mamba could turn it on, often burying his opponents with threes and base-line jumpers. While some might think of Kobe’s antics as “just stories” or “highly exaggerated”, former Bucks guard Brandon Jennings gave some clarity.

Jennings was recently on the ‘Captain Jack Podcast’ when he shared an interesting story of matching up against a prime Kobe Bryant during his rookie season. Talking about his experience, Jennings said,

“My rookie year we played the Lakers. You know I was a hot rookie…you know usually everyone daps each other up before the game. So, I come out…daping everyone up…and Kobe go ‘ shh.. like Yo! watch out.’ “

Kobe wasn’t all talk, as Jennings soon found out, burying a game-winning jumper against Jennings, giving the young Buck his welcome to the league moment. It’s important to remember that Jennings was no ordinary rookie himself, as he was just coming off a 55-point performance against Curry and the Warriors.

He averaged 15.5 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 5.7 assists in his rookie season, was clearly outclassed by an older Bryant, and it was because of such match-ups that Jennings put Kobe at the top of his All-Time Greatest list. 

Kobe Bryant and his Mamba Mentality 

Unlike genetic specimens like LeBron James and Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant was never the most gifted at anything. Yet, years later, the great Lakers guard placed himself on the Mt Rushmore of basketball through adopting a ‘brutal work ethic’. According to Kobe, what set him apart was his mindset, which he later coined as ‘Mamba Mentality‘. Kobe explained his philosophy,

“Mamba mentality is all about focusing on the process and trusting in the hard work when it matters most…It’s the ultimate mantra for the competitive spirit.” 

Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Bryant really embraced his philosophy to the core, as when it came time to play basketball, “nothing else mattered”. He even made headlines once for his laser-like focus, as comedian Chris Rock tried to distract Bryant during a 2010 playoff game. 

To everyone’s surprise, Bryant kept staring off into the distance, focused and locked in. It looks like even the funniest man on the planet couldn’t get a giggle out of Bryant, as the Mamba was locked on its kill.

Post Edited By:Hitesh Nigam

About the author

Trikansh Kher

Trikansh Kher

Trikansh Kher is a writer at The Sports Rush. A lawyer by education, Trikansh has always been around sports. As a young track athlete Trikansh was introduced to basketball through 'street ball' mixtapes. He was hooked and it has been 'ball is life' ever since. Trikansh is a designer by profession, but couldn't keep away from basketball. A regular on the blacktop, his love for the game goes further than just hooping. If Trikansh isn't going through box scores for last night's game, you can find him in his studio working on his designs or playing squash at the local club.

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