On paper at least, the Brooklyn Nets have one of the greatest teams ever assembled in NBA History. While the Nets do have an impressive collection of all-world talent, one thing that has been clear in these playoffs is that everything starts and finishes with 11-time NBA All-Star Kevin Durant who is the obvious catalyst of Brooklyn’s offense.
Durant is hoping to deliver the Nets their first title in franchise history this season, but this will not be his first time at the rodeo. Durant famously (or infamously) joined the 73-9 Golden State Warriors in 2016. With a player of Durant’s caliber, joining a squad that was already established things went exactly how you might expect. KD, along with All-Stars Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green won back-to-back titles in 2017 and 2018 during one of the most dominant runs in NBA history. Durant says the run was heavily impacted by late Lakers’ legend Kobe Bryant.
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KD Explains How Kobe Fueled Warriors Run
“Once I won that first championship with the Warriors, once we won the second one, I started thinking about the Lakers, and Kobe and Shaq,” Durant said during a recent appearance on The Pursuit of Healthiness with Blake Griffin. “How they went through a three-peat and all of the stuff that I wanted to do, and all the stuff and tactics I had as a basketball player I saw in Kobe up close.”
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Durant Talks About Kobe’s Impact Outside of Basketball
Bryant, who was officially inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in May of 2020 had a lasting impact on the game of basketball for multiple generations of hoopers. Durant had the privilege of knowing Kobe from multiple perspectives. The two went to the war on several different occasions in the playoffs, played together on Team USA during the 2012 Olympics, and were All-Star teammates multiple times. As a fan of the game, Durant grew up watching Kobe and knew him as just a basketball player but was surprised to find out just how many layers Bryant had to him.
“From just watching him in different settings, it made me realize just how well-rounded of an individual he was, he really lived his life to the fullest, he showed everybody everything. From rapping, to how he met his wife, to the birth of his kids, to winning Oscars, and championships, he’s pretty much displayed his whole life on the TV for us and we all grew up with him,” Durant continued.
“But to play against him and see a different side of him as a competitor taught me so much about the level, I have to be on every day not just during games. I didn’t realize until I was older that Kobe was teaching me so much stuff without really sitting me down. From his actions, to how he approached certain matchups with Team USA, that was impressive you know what I’m saying?”
KD Is Grateful for the Memories He Has With Kobe
Bryant was tragically killed in a helicopter crash in January 2020. His life was cut much too short at the age of 41. But for those like Durant who were lucky enough to know Kobe personally, a sense of solace comes from the great memories that he shared with the Laker legend that will surely last a lifetime.
“You know I’m just grateful for the time I got to spend with him as a teammate because not a lot of people got that opportunity,” Durant said. “So, you know he touched a lot of people with just his presence, and he made a lot of people feel different ways no matter if you loved him or hated him, but he made you feel something. That means a lot, especially for someone who grew up watching him and ended up playing against him so he’s always gonna be in our hearts and always gonna be hovering around the game of basketball.”
Kobe may be gone from the Earth physically, but the impact that he has had on the game of basketball is something that will never waver.