Boston Celtics small forward Jayson Tatum, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, has been one to watch from the moment he played his first game in the league. When Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward went down with season-ending injuries, Tatum was one of the players who stepped up and helped the Celtics finish as the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference. Tatum carried the Celtics to the Eastern Conference finals where they almost eliminated LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
So far, Jayson Tatum has proven that the Celtics made the right decision to trade the No. 1 overall pick to the Philadelphia 76ers for his draft rights in June 2017. Unlike Markelle Fultz and Lonzo Ball who were drafted before him, Tatum has already shown his potential to become a superstar in the league. However, the road to stardom has just started for the 20-year-old small forward.
This offseason, Jayson Tatum got the opportunity to meet and have a workout with one of the greatest basketball players of all time, Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant. In an appearance on The Bill Simmons Podcast (h/t Lakers Nation), Tatum shared some interesting details of his meeting with Bryant.
“I got to meet with him, and we talked about a lot of things; basketball-related, non-basketball related. I tried to get into his minds and see how he went about things. Just trying to get better each year. What he wanted to improve on year after year so he didn’t backtrack or be complacent. His will to just be the best and strive to get better every year. That’s one thing I found interesting. When we were working out, he said his thing was just trying to break the game down and make it as simple as possible”
Celtics president Danny Ainge said he would’ve drafted Jayson Tatum No. 1 overall last year. Great for the Celtics, who still got Tatum – arguably, with Donovan Mitchell, the draft’s best player – and netted an extra first-round pick. Not great for Tatum… https://t.co/g5bVITC9cM pic.twitter.com/I8oZrBEjcv— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSportsUS) August 26, 2018
Jayson Tatum admitted that Kobe Bryant was his favorite NBA player growing up. His recent workout with Bryant means a lot for him since he has been trying to replicate Kobe’s on-court performance and adopt the Mamba mentality ever since he was a child. Bryant told Tatum the things he did in the summer before he averaged his career-high 35.4 points during the 2005-2006 NBA season.
Working out with a player as great as Kobe Bryant will undeniably help Jayson Tatum in speeding up his development to become a legitimate superstar in the league. His improvement this offseason will be crucial as he is expected to be one of the players who will carry the Celtics back to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2010.