Former Lakers’ GM Details similarity between LeBron James and Kobe Bryant

Published 10/20/2020, 2:31 PM EDT
BEVERLY HILLS, CA – JULY 18: Professional basketball player Kobe Bryant speaks onstage at the “Kobe Bryant’s Muse” panel during the SHOWTIME Network portion of the 2014 Summer Television Critics Association at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on July 18, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)


If it weren’t for Jerry West’s incredible eye for talent, Kobe Bryant might have not set foot in the NBA world. After watching Kobe nail a college workout, the then Lakers‘ General Manager nabbed the star the first chance he got in the 1996 NBA Draft.

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Playing his entire career in the Lakers, he will forever remain a legend of the franchise. Kobe’s shocking demise earlier this year shook the world. However, now that the Lakers have won their 17th NBA championship title, they are far more at peace, knowing it was all for Kobe.

The Lakers had a tremendous playoff run this year. Not only did they constantly remind everyone of Kobe with their performances, but they also dedicated each win, along with the title to Kobe. In a recent interview with Billy Bush, former Lakers GM opens up about Kobe and the influence he will continue to have.

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Jerry West on the ‘Mamba mentality’

Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

West and Kobe shared an incredible bond throughout. Acquiring Kobe was the greatest step he took that changed the landscape of the Lakers franchise.

Since he knew Kobe very well, he was questioned about the Mamba mentality that is making rounds. He said, “You know I think Kobe had a persona like very few players and he sort of created this mentality.”

“A lot of people have that ability, Bill. But they don’t have the pizzazz and the talent to pull it off. There are a lot of quiet players that compete just as hard. But when you have his mentality, his excellence as a player — more importantly, what he meant to the city of Los Angeles—this makes this more significant with everything that has transpired.”

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Does the name Kobe Bryant still enter his thoughts?

West described what he thinks sets Kobe apart from the remaining stars. “If he were alive, I think he would have been very excited to see the Lakers win… When you look at how hard he worked at the game, his dedication… Kobe was extremely bright, extremely bright. He also was driven… He was going to have the same effect on the world after he stopped playing basketball.”

Although, West thinks there is one more player in the Lakers who has Kobe’s effect. LeBron James is the same way. They are two geniuses and people say ‘well they are just great athletes.’ No, no! They are both geniuses.”

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West concluded by saying that, “Every day there is something that reminds me of Kobe Bryant and it’s sad. I feel horrible.” There is no doubt that several people feel the same way, but Kobe will always remain an integral cog of the NBA, Lakers, and fans’ lives.

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Yashima Bhatia

1227 articles

Yashima Bhatia is an NBA writer for EssentiallySports who specialises in providing nuanced predictions and updates for matches. She has a Bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communication. Yashima's love for playing the game came up at a young age, when the excitement of the games coupled with the intensity of the Playoffs had her hooked.

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