Knicks’ Julius Randle Shares How Kobe Bryant Taught Him A Lesson About Sacrifice in His Sophomore Season

Published 03/06/2021, 3:30 PM EST
Dec 13, 2020; Detroit, Michigan, USA; New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) gets defended by Detroit Pistons guard Killian Hayes (7) during the first quarter at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports


New York Knicks have been on an absolute tear. Arguably the most surprising team this season, a change in the coaching staff by bringing in Tom Thibodeau and the superb form of young stars RJ Barrett and Emmanuel Quickley has been pivotal for their success.

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But the biggest X-Factor for the team has been the form of All-Star Julius Randle. The 26-year-old forward has been the standout player for the Knicks, averaging 23.2 points, 11.1 rebounds, and 5.5 assists per game.

After playing alongside superstars like Kobe Bryant and Anthony Davis, Randle has finally elevated himself as a star in the Knicks.

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Julius Randle opens up about Kobe Bryant

The Knicks star Randle recently wrote a piece about his experiences in the NBA in the Players Tribune. One of the most interesting stories Randle shared was about his time in the Lakers.

The 25-year-old opened up about his time with Kobe Bryant and how ‘Black Mamba’ taught him about the importance of sacrifice.

Randle writes, “We’re coming up on the hotel in Dallas, and Kobe turns to me and he goes, ‘Julius, what you bout to do.’ I’m like, ‘I’m about to see my family, chill with some friends, you know. Have a night.’ And Kobe, he just cuts me off. He’s like, ‘Nah. We’re going to the gym.’”

The 25-year-old added, “I mean, that right there, it’s just the power of Kobe. If anyone else in the world had said that to me, in that moment, I might have hit ’em with an eye roll and went on with my business. But when Mamba is telling you that it’s a change of plans, and you’re coming with him to the gym tonight? You don’t ask questions. You just do as you’re told.”

He added, “It was him trying to use the situation to teach me a lesson. The lesson being: To get to the next level in this league, you can’t be putting in that next level of work only some of the time. Has to be all of the time. No such thing as sacrifice without sacrifice.”

Can Randle lead the Knicks to a spot in the playoffs?

The Knicks have been amazing, so far. They have been the second best team defensively in the regular season. Much of it has been because of the defensive effort by players like Mitchell Robinson and Julius Randle.

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With multiple inconsistent teams in the Eastern Conference, the Knicks have a real chance of making it to the playoffs after seven long seasons. The Knicks have already proven that they are not a fluke.

Feb 21, 2021; New York, New York, USA; Julius Randle #30 of the New York Knicks dribbles against Jarred Vanderbilt #8 of the Minnesota Timberwolves during the first half at Madison Square Garden on February 21, 2021 in New York City. Mandatory Credit: Sarah Stier/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

Randle, on the other hand, has stepped up massively. He is leading the team in points, rebounds and assists. The most impressive improvement has been his playmaking skills, increasing his assists average to 5.5 per game.

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Sophomore RJ Barrett has been amazing as well. He is the team’s second highest scorer, averaging 16.5 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game. If all their players can maintain their amazing form, the Knicks can pull off a surprise or two.

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Aditya Mohapatra

695 articles

Aditya Mohapatra is a sports enthusiast who primarily covers the NBA for EssentiallySports. Having graduated in Mass Communication, he has prior experience in writing for ABP News, and has been writing for EssentiallySports since November 2020. This die-hard Los Angeles Lakers fan feels that LeBron James is the best thing to have ever happened to the NBA, and will hold a healthy debate with anyone suggesting otherwise.

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