Blazers’ Damian Lillard Reveals Favorite Lakers’ Kobe Bryant Story

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 28: Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers attempts to block the shot of Damian Lillard #0 of the Portland Trail Blazers at Staples Center on December 28, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. The Lakers won 104-87. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

It has been almost two months since the work was saddened by the news that NBA legend Kobe Bryant along with his daughter Gia Bryant had passed away.  Bryant, his daughter, along with seven other passengers en route to Bryant’s Mamba Academy on January 26, 2020, outside Calabasas, California, in a helicopter accident.

After the news broke, numerous people, who knew the Laker great, began sharing stories of their interactions while throughout his career. Including, Nickelodeon Game Shakers’ star Sheldon Bailey, who is a former professional basketball player, he was also one of Bryant’s body doubles. Bailey was on set with Bryant doing a Guitar Hero commercial.

“I stood in for Kobe, but I also worked on multiple projects with Kobe Bryant. I would say six or seven commercials in various ways. I was always impressed by him, but the most that I got to talk with him was on the guitar hero commercials, and I talked him about when he spoke to us at the Adidas All-American camp whenever I was a kid,” Bailey told me.

“I was like 16 years old, and he was an NBA superstar and just married his wife [Vanessa]. He pulled up in a limousine, and he had this beautiful wife, and all the kids are tripping, and like oh my god,, it’s Kobe Bryant. His speech about basketball was different, and how he approached the game really opened up my mind with his preparation and the mental edge he had on the game was incredible.”

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Damian Lillard Shares his Favorite Kobe Bryant Story

On Saturday afternoon Damian Lillard was a guest on SportCenter’s Instagram Live with host Chiney Ogwumike, and the two discussed a variety of different things, including Lillard’s favorite story of Kobe.

“My personal Kobe [Bryant] story was my first All-Star game in 2014 in New Orleans. I showed up to the game with a teammate, so that was good for me that I wasn’t just out there by myself. Me and LA [LaMarcus Aldridge] made the All-Star team my second year. So, that made a little bit more comfortable, but it is a little bit uncomfortable for young players. I saw it in a lot of players that made their first All-Star team this year. Just walking into the locker room, you can tell who was nervous.

He continued explaining what it was like in his first All-Star game in New Orleans.

“I walk in like I was a little nervous and there is Dirk [Nowitzki], Blake Grifin, Dwight [Howard], KD [Kevin Durant], and Kobe [Bryant]. I mean, it was like the real thing, and me and AD [ Anthony Davis] were second-year players. We go in Kobe was hurt, so Kobe walks in with a suit and had some shades on. He walked in and walks up was like, “man, you belong here, and when you get out there, shoot it, Lillard said.

“Go out there and be aggressive and have fun. The whole conversation made me more comfortable, and I was like out of everybody in here; Kobe is the dude. So, if he comes to me and talks to me and it’s the icebreaker for me. I’m good enough to be in here with anybody.”

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