We all tried to copy the movements of a player we liked when we were young. And in elementary school, Jayson Tatum preferred to learn to reproduce Kobe Bryant’s disappearance to perfection rather than his math lessons. JT has since grown up, become an NBA player and was able to get closer to his idol. Today, after Kobe left us more than two years ago, the Celtics winger paid tribute to him on the Miami floor on Sunday, the most important match day of his career.
Sunday, May 29, match day 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals between Heat and Celtics. The Boston players have just finished eating and are on their way back to their rooms to take a quick nap in preparation for tonight’s game. Before falling asleep, some read a book, call their family. Jayson Tatum prefers to turn on the TV in his bedroom to watch Kobe’s career highlights. When he wakes up, the Boston winger decides to send a message to the Black Mamba number: he intends to honor his idol for the most important match of his career according to him. Next to the green sweater in the locker room, a purple bracelet embroidered with a yellow 24s and all-black Jordan 36s in imitation snakeskin. These “Black Mamba” shoes were completely conceptualized by Jayson Tatum. He added on the back of each heel a phrase Kobe said during their training together in 2018 when he was still a rookie: “How much does that mean to you?” » (How important is it to you?) And “Keep it running” (Keep doing what you do all the time). That night, JT did not have the match of his life, but he showed his flawless versatility (26 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists) in the defense of the Heat, and he was in the grip when needed in the final quarter. The Celtics winger will be rewarded for his very good series in the final of the conf ‘and becomes the first Eastern Conference Finals MVP in history. He understood Kobe’s message well in 2018, he continued to do what he knew how to do on the Miami floor. that “I have you today” that he texted his number before leaving for FTX Arena makes perfect sense.
“𝐈 𝐠𝐨𝐭 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐭𝐨𝐝𝐚𝐲. »
—ESPN (@espn) May 30, 2022
Jayson Tatum grew up with his mother in Missouri, where he idolized Black Mamba. One day when he saw a Lakers game with his mother, he said to her, “I want to be Kobe.” His mother replies to him, “You mean you want to be an NBA player later? – No, I want to be Kobe.” Little Tatum played basketball when he was free, and it wasn’t that bad for a kid.
As a 13-year-old, his mother calls Drew Hanlen, a personal trainer, and asks if it is possible for him to take a session with his son. Drew’s clientele are NBA and NCAA players, not kids who do not yet know Thales’ theorem. Apart from the fact that in his clientele there is a friend of the Tatum family: Bradley Beal, also from St. Louis just like JT. The Florida Gators freshman at the time is pushing his coach to accept the proposal by telling him he is confident his brother Jayson will become a great player later. Drew accepts and at the first session he makes her see all the colors. Jayson Tatum is not pale for the task and tells him that he would rather faint on the pitch than give up. The puberty school year-old Tatum has Mamba Mentality embedded in him, and his coach sees it very well. The following workouts will be easier. For one week, the two men spend a full seven training sessions dissecting Kobe’s plugs. Without driving or shooting afterwards. Nothing. Moving on to dissecting and learning for hours until it is fluid, perfect that JT does it naturally.
– Drew Hanlen (@DrewHanlen) July 27, 2018
After that, Jayson Tatum moved to Duke for a college year before being drafted by the Celtics in 2017. Since then, he has become close with Kobe. Following his end to the rookie season due to an elimination in the Conference Finals by the Cavs, Mamba and the Tatum camp organized a training session together. On the program: a one-on-one game, Kobe opposite Jayson. Only that. All framed by Drew Hanlen, the Celtics winger’s personal trainer. The former duke would later wisely say that for him it was one of the best days of his life.
“I’m here in this room training with you [Kobe] because you inspired me without even knowing it. After my son’s birth, it’s the most beautiful day of my life … I’ll never forget this day. »
– Jayson Tatum on the JJ Redick Podcast
Jayson Tatum has loved Kobe Bryant since he was a child. Today, the Celtics star has a tattoo of his Lakers jersey on his leg and wears like Black Mamba in his time number 10 with Team USA. Despite the pain he must feel, JT continues to pay tribute to him, especially on his social network, where Kobe is present on each of his profile pictures. Tomorrow, Tatum has a deal with the NBA Finals, the biggest deadline so far in his career, and we are confident he will take the purple armband forward to the occasion.
Source text: SLAM N ° 218, ESPNThe Old Man & The Three