Man, Kobe Bryant sure is old.
And he knows it.
The 37-year-old Black Mamba is playing through his 20th NBA season, which is bound to lead to him facing players who were barely alive when he made his debut. Shit, Phoenix Suns rookie Devin Booker was born just four days before Kobe played in his first NBA game. That’s nuts, and it naturally means many of today’s players grew up watching Kobe.
Or, you know, maybe not.
As Kobe said, per ESPN.com’s Baxter Holmes:
Kobe on players telling him they grew up watching him: pic.twitter.com/IVM1yGhGjk
— Baxter Holmes (@BaxterHolmes) February 9, 2016
What he said.
Most of today’s incoming players and semi-established youths were likely inspired by LeBron James rather than Kobe. And that’s been a thing for a while now. Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards has even admitted he wears No. 23 not because of Michael Jordan, but because of LeBron. So it’s like Kobe said, he’s basically “three generations” removed from being the initial inspiration for today’s youth.
No matter, though.
Plenty of longstanding superstars, from Kevin Durant and Dirk Nowitzki, to Carmelo Anthony and LeBron himself, view Kobe Bryant as a muse. Which is pretty convenient for Bean. Now he only has to grapple with facing players who were barely born when he entered the league, as opposed to balancing that with the reality of many of his opponents entering their matchup against him completely and utterly star struck.