The late Kobe Bryant had some great words of wisdom for a 19-year old Zion Williamson. The Black Mamba felt Zion shouldn’t be bothered by all the noise around him and focus on his game
During a 2019 interview with ESPN’s Mike Greenberg, Kobe Bryant spoke about the hype surrounding Duke sensation Zion Williamson. Every basketball fan had their eyes glued to the television screens to find who would land Zion in the 2019 NBA Draft.
The former national college player of the year was a physical specimen unlike we had ever seen since Shaquille O’Neal. A 6″7′ forward who exhibited freakish athleticism, Zion was box office. Earlier this year, Zion had signed a $75M deal with Nike’s Jordan brand.
Though LeBron James was in similar shoes in 2003, the advent of social media has made Zion a rage. Thus when Kobe sat down with Greenberg for an interview in 2019, the GetUp host couldn’t help but ask the Lakers legend about Zion.
Kobe, who was known to have an incredible mindset and work ethic, imparted some words of wisdom for the rookie. Having played in the NBA for 20-years, Kobe understood what it felt like to be under the public eye.
Kobe Bryant had the following advice for a 19-year old Zion Williamson.
It’s no secret that Kobe was a student of the game. The 5x champion understood the responsibilities that came with being a superstar. Thus the Hall of Famer could impart knowledge to the rookie, who was about to enter the NBA.
“Just focus on the game. That seems very very simple. But that’s the challenge. People pull you from different directions, and you have different opportunities. And that’s fine. But You’ve got to lock in and focus on the most important thing which is the game.”
Durability has always been an issue for Zion, playing a mere 24 games in the 2019-20 season. However, the former ACC player of the year would put up impressive stats in the last season. The All-Star averaged 22.5 PPG and 6.3 RPG on a 58.3% shooting from the field.
The younger generation of the league has always looked up to Kobe. Whether it is Devin Booker, Jason Tatum, or Kyrie Irving, each of them embraces the mamba mentality.