Ryan Kelly was a young role player during Kobe Bryant’s “farewell tour” in 2016. The ex-Laker noticed that Bryant had a different approach in his last season that helped Kelly and his young teammates.
“He was a little bit softer,” Kelly told Bill Oram of The Athletic in a recent interview, per SB Nation. Kelly was the last player ever to replace the Lakers’ legend in an NBA court marking the end of an era for one of the biggest superstars the league has ever seen.
“Not that he was ever going to accept losing by any stretch,” Kelly noted. “But he was more willing to help the young guys, to take a backseat at the end of games. From that standpoint, I think you’d see a real teacher of the game and certainly, ‘This is a year that’s a lot about me,’ but also about a lot of young guys.”
His commitment to change his approach evolving from a ‘student’ to a teacher of the game was evident after his retirement.
He helped many WNBA players, while he was committed as a coach for his daughter Gianna’s team. Unfortunately, we saw few things on Kobe Bryant being dedicated to basketball in a really different role than we used to see him, but his legacy will still remain the most important “title” of his career.