Jayson Tatum Insists Kobe Bryant Steered Him to a Life With No ‘Plan B’

Jayson Tatum

Getty Jayson Tatum continues to want to be like his idol Kobe Bryant.

It’s no secret Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum idolized Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant. Tatum admits Bryant was his favorite player while growing up, and he had the opportunity to work out with Bryant in 2018.

During a December 6 appearance on the “Point Forward” podcast hosted by former NBA players Andre Iguodala and Evan Turner, Tatum recalled the life-changing words Bryant shared while speaking at a camp Tatum attended as a kid.

Inspired by Kobe Bryant, Jayson Tatum Says ‘There Was Never a Plan B’

Words matter. They matter even more if they come from someone you respect.

Tatum recalled the day Bryant was a guest speaker at a camp he attended. He vividly remembered Bryant’s words making an instant impact on him.

“Growing up, I remember Kobe spoke at a camp one time,” Tatum said. “He asked the kids like what do they want to be when they grow up. Then he asked the kids what’s your second option. Everybody kinda had a second option. He kinda looked at them funny and was like, ‘Man, I never had a Plan B. People always told me disperse your eggs in different baskets.’

“He was like, ‘Why would I not give all my time, energy, and effort to the thing I’m trying to accomplish?'”

To this day, that sticks with Tatum.

“That just resonated so much,” he said. “That was my favorite player. That’s who I wanted to be like, so in my mind, there was never a Plan B. Even to this day. … I was gonna get to the league or die trying, and I live by that.”

Bryant’s Voice Has Always Resonated With Tatum

That basketball camp wasn’t the only time Bryant’s words had an effect on Tatum. The two worked out together in 2018, and Bryant critiqued Tatum’s game. Tatum spoke about soaking in all of Bryant’s advice when he was a guest on “Beyond the Press” with host Ashley Nevel in 2021.

“One of the many things I took from him that always stuck with me, he kinda just asked me one day, ‘How much does it mean to you?’” Tatum told Nevel. “And that kinda puts things in perspective. You know, how much does being great or being a champion or whatever? How much does it mean?

“What are you willing to give up? What are you willing to do, sacrifice? All those type of things. I think that’s kind of the model he lived by.”

Like Bryant, Tatum aspires to be a champion. He always wants to be the best.

Unlike Bryant, Tatum doesn’t have a championship ring. He doesn’t have an MVP award. He’s in his seventh season and helped get the Celtics back into the NBA Finals in 2022 for the first time since 2010. He struggled in the championship round, and the Golden State Warriors outlasted the Celtics in six games. He’s learned from it.

Tatum’s determined to get better. His numbers improve each season. He’s arguably a top-five player in the NBA. He has no choice but to continue to improve his all-around game because, for Tatum, there is no Plan B.

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