Kobe Bryant was the equivalent to basketball royalty for those who grew up in the noughties. Kevin Durant was hardly an exception to this norm.
It’s unlikely that we’ll ever see a basketball player impacting so many people with his pure competitive streak. The Black Mamba represents the embodiment of an artist’s obsession with attaining perfection at his craft.
Play after play, day after day, year after year, Bryant trained harder than any basketball player he came across. He’d notoriously aim for 400 made shots on every single shooting practice session. It was this competitive streak to his preparation that allowed his game to age like wine.
When Kevin Durant was an 18-year-old prospect out of Texas A&M, he was named to USA Basketball’s Select Team roster for a series of exhibition games and a summer camp. This was the first time that he met the Lakers legend.
“Kobe Bryant is a god to me”: Kevin Durant jokes about what the Lakers legend taught him
Kevin Durant is among the renowned sportspersons to have made an appearance on Hot Ones. Hosted by Sean Evans on the YouTube channel First We Feast, this is a show where celebrities join the host for a series of progressively spicier and hotter wings while answering his questions.
Durant’s appearance was particularly remarkable given his great answers and dignified mannerisms while eating. The then-Warriors star took 2 bites of each wing and didn’t take a sip of water or milk, unlike other guests.
During one of the segments on this show, Sean pulled up a series of pictures for KD to elaborate on. One of those was from the year 2007 in which the Slim Reaper shared the reel with the Black Mamba. Durant confirmed that this was indeed their first meeting ever:
“That was the first time I met Kobe Bryant, at Team USA Basketball camp. I don’t really remember the conversations, but I can remember that I was very nervous, I was shaken.”
“Kobe is a god to me, basketball-wise. Just to see him actually know my name, at that time I was 18. It was surreal.”
Sean Evans went on to ask KD if he learnt anything from the Black Mamba, to which the Slim Reaper had an elegant answer: “Yeah, every time you touch the ball, shoot it!”