Is Kyrie Irving using Kobe Bryant’s Career as a Blueprint?

Kyrie Irving has made sure to keep the NBA, the media, and the fans in a chaotic tizzy this summer with his trade request and the whirlwind that, subsequently, ensued. The latest bit of news for Kyrie Irving, which is a lot less dramatic, is the release of his brand new sneaker. Kyrie collaborated with Nike and his long time basketball idol, and now mentor, Kobe Bryant on the creation of the new Nike Kyrie 3 “Bruce Lee” shoes.

These sneakers were directly inspired by a pair of Kobe V “Bruce Lee” shoes that Irving wore when he was 17 years old for a big game. Kyrie explained in the Instagram post that revealed the new sneaker, that those pair of Kobe V’s are still his favorite pair of game sneakers he has ever worn. This is why a collaboration with Kobe, and Nike, to create these new sneakers was a no-brainer.

It is well known to many that Kyrie Irving considers Kobe Bryant a close friend and a mentor. Their relationship came full circle, going from idol, to on court rivals, to mentor and mentee. Tim Bontemps, of the Washington Post, shared a story out of the Cleveland Cavaliers locker room that may be a good indicator for the closeness of their relationship.

Kobe and Kyrie have met more than once, on big stages under the bright lights of an arena. [Image by Jason Miller/ Getty Images]

While in the locker room, after just winning the 2016 NBA Finals, the first phone call Kyrie Irving made was a FaceTime phone call to the one and only Kobe Bryant himself. He was not celebrating with his teammates, or snapping photos like the rest of them. He did not call friends or family, he called the Black Mamba at a apex moment in his young career.

It’s apparent that Kobe’s basketball career, and his sneakers, have influenced Kyrie since he was 17 years old, but many wonder how much Kyrie wishes to emulate the career of Kobe Bryant. Some even go so far as to wonder if Kobe’s influence on Kyrie has had anything to do with how Irving’s trade request has been handled and has played out.

“This has become Kyrie’s Kobe moment– a chance for him to make a play to permanently shape the way he is viewed.” wrote Bontemps.

Whatever influence, if any, Kobe has on Kyrie, is appears to be based on the decisions and choices Kobe made during his career and the retrospective hindsight he can offer to Kyrie. It is well reported that there have been multiple conversations between the two about Kobe’s relationship with Shaquille O’Neal. Even though it may seem as more, this seems like a simple case of advise from mentor to mentee.

It seems like an example of a retired NBA legend sharing his NBA career experiences and life lessons with a young NBA superstar who seems to be at a crossroads in his career. Being that Kobe has been in a similar situation, Irving is taking into consideration certain hindsight’s that a legend like Kobe can provide.

Phil Jackson and Kobe Bryant won 5 rings together with the Los Angeles Lakers. [Image by Theo Wargo/ Getty Images]

Not for nothing, Kobe Bryant is one of the best that this game has ever seen, any young superstar would be honored to have Kobe as a resource. Kobe Bryant racked up some of the greatest statistics and accolades in NBA history.

  • 5 time NBA Champion
  • Career that spanned two decades
  • 2 time NBA Finals MVP
  • 2008 Regular Season MVP
  • 18 time NBA All-Star
  • Ranks 3rd all time in scoring

These are just some of his accolades. In all seriousness, who wouldn’t want advise from one of the greatest basketball players of all time?

[Feature Image by Ronald Martinez/ Getty Images]