All Star Jayson Tatum has put the NBA on notice this year. He’s cleaned up his game and looks virtually unguardable. Tatum’s handle is much tighter, he’s bigger and stronger than we’ve ever seen him and he’s getting to the rim with ease.

Tatum grew up watching and studying Kobe. In fact he’s said Bryant is the reason he started playing basketball. His idol reached out and it meant the world to Tatum.


Tatum soaking it all in

Tatum looked impressive his rookie year, showing Celtics fans what the future could hold. He had the skills and right attitude. Kobe noticed, which led to him reaching out to Jayson.

The two worked on everything from Kobe’s famous fade-away to simple veteran tips the Mamba had picked up during his career.

The next season the media was all over this story, and they didn’t seem to like it one bit. Tatum wasn’t making the expected jump, but I put a lot of that on Kyrie Irving. Tatum was taking tough shots, shots that only Kobe and a few others could make, and the season didn’t go as planned. Tatum spoke up after the media wanted the Celtics to de-Kobe the second year player. Jayson heard the nonsense and defended the late, great five time NBA champ.

This seems like the Mamba Mentality to me
(Credit to: ComPlex Sports)

Tatum wasn’t having any of the negative talk about Kobe and the impact he had on him that summer, he knew that everything would pay off.

“I’m still going to shoot the mid-range. I’ve seen all the people talking about the de-Kobeing. Kobe didn’t teach me anything bad. Everything we talked about and he showed me was great. Last year, with the jump I didn’t make that everyone expected, it was not his fault. He’s one of the greatest ever, so everything he taught me I’m very grateful, and it helped me. I’ve got to take responsibility for how I played last year not being as big of a jump that people thought. But I’m still going to shoot mid-range.”


Tatum stuck to his word and kept shooting the mid-range, and when he settled for low percentage shots the media was quick to blame the summer sessions with Kobe. Jayson in just his sophomore season repeatedly pushed back against that suggestion. He always stressed how important those workouts with Bryant were in his development. The way Tatum handled the media and carried himself is reminiscent of a young Kobe Bryant. The two had spent a lot of hours together, and Kobe’s confidence and mentality certainly rubbed off on Tatum.


The impact and importance Kobe’s workouts have had on Tatum came to fruition, silencing the media and doubters. The jump everyone expected has finally come, and it was bigger than anyone could’ve thought. The Celtics are thriving this year and Jayson Tatum is the clear star.

The eerie thing about that is Tatum was playing well before the Bryant tragedy, but since it’s happened he’s turned into an unstoppable force.

Tatum is carrying the Boston Celtics, dropping 30+ on a regular basis and the 21 year old made his first All-Star team. The way Tatum is rapidly ascending right before our eyes, like nothing I’ve ever seen (mid season) is incredible. The Mamba Mentality is with Tatum, Kobe is watching and we are all witnessing the rise of the next great Celtic.

RIP Kobe and Giana Bryant, and all the lives lost that day.

Boston Celtics