Celtics’ Jayson Tatum gives 2,000-mile reason for Kobe Bryant GOAT pick

Celtics’ Jayson Tatum gives 2,000-mile reason for Kobe Bryant GOAT pick

Jayson Tatum (Celtics) with supersaiyan glow and Kobe Bryant (Lakers) in the background looking proud

Celtics’ Jayson Tatum has Kobe Bryant as the GOAT.

Boston Celtics superstar forward Jayson Tatum has never shied away from expressing how high he thinks of the late, great Kobe Bryant. Even though he is playing for the fiercest rivals of the Los Angeles Lakers, Tatum will always be proud of his admiration of the Black Mamba, who died in a tragic helicopter accident in January of 2020.

Recently, Tatum spoke in front of a crowd and opened up why Kobe, in his eyes, was the greatest to ever play the game of basketball.

“The way he inspired people, the way he inspired somebody else 2000 miles away… Watching how hard he works, the ups and downs of his career… Me seeing myself in him.”

Debates about which player is the greatest of all time have been one of the hottest topics in basketball talk. There isn’t a day that it’s never talked about whether in small circles or among people with elevated platforms. But for Tatum, the debate has always been settled already, with Bryant above everyone else who has ever put hands on a basketball.

Jayson Tatum idolized Kobe Bryant growing up

Tatum, who is from St. Louis, grew up idolizing a lot of NBA players but there wasn’t someone he gravitated to more than Bryant. When he finally made it to the best basketball league in the world, Tatum took advantage of the chance to meet his childhood hero and even worked out together during offseasons with the one-time NBA Most Valuable Player.

When Kobe passed away, Tatum, just like most basketball fans, was devastated. He later said that he should have communicated and reached out more to Kobe when the Lakers legend was still alive.

“It is bittersweet. I can’t believe that he’s not here anymore. And the thing that I regret is I wish I would’ve called him more. I wish I would’ve texted him more,” Tatum said earlier this year, per Marc J. Spears of Andscape.

“I just always thought he was so busy. I never wanted to bother him. We knew each other. He told me to text him, call him anytime. But I was almost scared. I can only imagine all the things he has going on. I don’t want to bother him. And obviously after what happened, I wish I would’ve reached out more. I had so many questions I wanted to know the answers to. I should have called him more and it taught me a lesson.”

It can also be remembered that Tatum once shared that he texted Kobe ahead of the Celtics’ Game 7 matchup against the Miami Heat in the 2022 Eastern Conference Finals. Tatum played well in that game and steered the Celtics to the 2022 NBA Finals, though, they fell short of the ultimate goal of winning the league championship, as Boston fell to the Golden State Warriors in six games.

Jayson Tatum, Celtics putting final touches on excellent regular season

Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) reacts after a play against the Atlanta Hawks in the second half at State Farm Arena.

Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
Nearly two years later since getting preyed upon by Stephen Curry and the Warriors in the NBA Finals, Tatum and the Celtics are looking every bit like the favorite to win the Larry O’Brien Trophy in the 2023-24 season. Boston has secured a spot in the playoffs and is a virtual lock to end up with the top seed in the Eastern Conference with the Celtics already racking up 57 wins through 72 games.

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