Kobe Bryant was a star player for the Los Angeles Lakers for 20 seasons. He knows what it takes to be the face of a franchise. And recently, he offered some thoughts on the Boston Celtics' face of the franchise, star point guard, Kyrie Irving.
Bryant spoke about his relationship with Irving on Sirius XM and discussed what the next step in Irving's career will be.
The next move for [Kyrie] is figuring out how to get the most out of the pieces around him. That’s really hard. And understanding how do you find an emotional connection with each player, figure out what their fears are, and help turn those fears into strengths. And to do that you have to put time in. And I don’t mean time in the gym. I mean time listening. Breakfast, lunch, dinner. Talking to guys, listening to what they’re saying.
Bryant expanded on his thoughts later on and related it back to what he had to do to improve the Lakers in the 2009 and 2010 seasons.
It’s not about just passing them the ball and saying that’s what makes guys better. That’s not it. You have to figure out how to touch the right buttons to make them want to be the best versions of themselves. How do you do that? And that was my challenge in ’09 and 2010, I was able to figure it out. And that’s what Kyrie has to figure out.
Bryant's advice seems sensible. The Celtics have struggled so far this season, and they enter Friday night's matchup with the Indiana Pacers as the fifth seed in the playoff picture. They haven't been a cohesive unit, and Brad Stevens has blamed the team's lack of chemistry for their struggles.
If Irving stays in Boston, he will be charged with getting the most out of his teammates, as Bryant suggested. Of course, he has been non-committal about staying in Boston, so perhaps he could try to build a team where he could get the most out of his players elsewhere.
But if Kyrie does stay, things will have to change if the Celtics want to gel and reach their full potential. And that will all start with him since he is the team's star player.
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