Kobe Bryant has enjoyed passing his knowledge to Boston Celtics star Isaiah Thomas during the postseason, paying it forward from the help he received early in his career.
“I was happy to help him,” Bryant said, per Jackie MacMullan of ESPN. “He had the courage to ask. I did the same thing with Michael Jordan when I was a young player.”
Thomas revealed last week the former Los Angeles Lakers star has reviewed game film before and after games, per A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN.
The help began after Game 2 of the first-round series against the Chicago Bulls with the Celtics down 0-2. Boston won the next six games, including the first two against the Washington Wizards.
According to Bryant, Thomas is just one of the many stars who ask him for advice. Fellow All-Stars Kyrie Irving, James Harden, Russell Westbrook and Gordon Hayward also talk regularly with the Black Mamba.
“I’m around for all the guys,” he said. “Anybody can reach out. It’s an open book.”
Bryant retired at the end of the 2015-16 season, but the 18-time All-Star and five-time NBA champion is clearly still making an impact on the NBA playoffs.
Kobe Bryant is one of the greatest to ever play basketball. As the winner of five championships, an MVP and many other accolades, it would make sense people give weight to his basketball opinions. In an interview with ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan, Bryant talked about the negativity surrounding the likelihood of a third straight Cavaliers-Warriors Finals.
There’s a strong group of fans that believe the dominance Cleveland and Golden State have shown so far in this year’s playoffs have been bad for basketball. That the pointlessness of it all leading up to the Finals is hurting the league. Bryant strongly disagrees with this.
Bryant says he will watch the NBA postseason when time allows. He can’t understand why some believe a potential Warriors versus Cavaliers Finals matchup for the third time is a negative.
“Why is that bad for basketball? That makes no sense,” Kobe says. “Just because it’s preordained that’s a bad thing?
“I know I’m going to wake up in the morning. Is that a bad thing? I don’t think it is.”
It’s worth noting that Bryant was part of a team that wont three straight championships so obviously there’s a little bias here. Still, as a student of the game it’s hard to not see why he would enjoy two teams playing their best basketball and possibly meeting up for a third time. He’s a competitor. He wants to see the best teams win.
While Bryant is right that not everything that’s expected should be considered bad, it’s hard to not believe that this year’s playoffs just don’t feel as fun as previous years. Is it bad for basketball to have two teams so incredibly dominant there’s not even a sense of an upset happening? That’s hard to say and probably won’t have an answer until a few years down the line, but it’s definitely not the most fun basketball.