Kyrie Irving doesn’t necessarily require external motivation to compete, but he has always admired Lakers legend Kobe Bryant throughout his NBA journey. During a casual gathering in LA the night before a playoff final, Irving recalled his conversation with Kobe Bryant on the eve of the 2016 NBA playoffs.
Kyrie was deeply surprised when his idol appeared to bet against him. However, he drew strength and motivation from the conversation, which propelled him to victory in the 2016 NBA playoff finals.
Irving Reflects on Dinner with Kobe Bryant and Its Impact
Kyrie Irving shared a personal and touching memory about the late Kobe Bryant, shedding light on Bryant’s motivation during the 2016 NBA season. During a recent Twitch stream while playing NBA2K, Irving revealed the valuable advice he got from his hero, Kobe.
“He said, ‘Man, I think Golden State’s definitely winning the Championship this year.’ Can you believe Kobe said that? He’s my hero, bro.” As the conversation with Kobe continues, “He was like, ‘Man, Steph is killing this year.’ I’m like, ‘Man, I’m not trying to hear about Steph, right now, bro. I respect the sh*t out of Steph, but I’m going smack at him.”
Kobe believed the Warriors had a strong team and a good chance. They discussed Stephen Curry’s impressive form as the reigning MVP, recognizing the Warriors’ teamwork and their favorable title prospects. This conversation ignited Irving’s determination, leading to an unforgettable moment in NBA history.
In the 2016 NBA Finals, the Cleveland Cavaliers, with Irving’s iconic game-winning 3-pointer over Steph Curry in Game 7, managed to come back from a 3-1 deficit to defeat the Golden State Warriors.
Irving credits much of his unwavering determination to his evening with Kobe Bryant. The honest conversation and Bryant’s motivational “Kobe-way” became a crucial part of Irving’s approach to the finals, serving as a cornerstone in his mindset.
Did LeBron and Kobe Ever Play Together?
LeBron James and Kobe Bryant, two basketball legends of their era, widely considered among the greatest players of basketball, shared the court numerous times but never as teammates on the same team in the NBA. Their one collaboration occurred when they represented Team USA in the Olympics, where they both secured gold medals in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2012 London Olympics.
However, in the NBA, they faced each other several times. LeBron played for the Cleveland Cavaliers before joining the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference, while Kobe remained with the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference. Despite fans’ hopes for an NBA Finals showdown, their paths never crossed in that way.
Despite not being teammates, they held a deep respect for each other’s skills and work ethic. Their on-court battles and off-court friendship will forever hold a special place in NBA history.