Wizards

Quick Links

John Wall says Russell Westbrook is most like Kobe Bryant in today's game in one way

usatsi_9215606.jpg
USA Today Sports Images

John Wall says Russell Westbrook is most like Kobe Bryant in today's game in one way

The most common answers from Wizards players and coaches this week when asked to recall Kobe Bryant's career in light of his double jersey retirement dealt with two things: wonderment over Bryant having two jersey numbers raised to the rafters and admiration of his effort and attitude on the court.

Head coach Scott Brooks played and coached against Bryant. The one game he opposed him on the court was in 1998 when Brooks was on the Cavs and Bryant was a 19-year-old bench player for the Lakers.

"Playing against him, I didn't think he was going to be a very good player," Brooks joked. "You knew he had special talent. He had the physical characteristics and the desire to be great. His competitives is unmatched."

As a coach, Brooks was amazed when trying to develop defensive strategies to stop Bryant. Through experience and studying film, Bryant had seen everything before.

RELATED: WALL SAYS PUT THE ALL-STAR DRAFT ON TV

Brooks coached against Bryant when he was No. 24 and by then he was the most astute player in the game.

"To be able to do what he did, for 20 years and it was almost identical from No. 8 to No. 24 is just incredible to me," Brooks said. "Somebody said he could be a Hall of Famer in each one, which is pretty cool."

Indeed, the statistical split between jersey No. 8 and No. 24 is almost dead-on. He played 10 seasons with each number. In No. 8, he won three titles and scored 16,866 points. In No. 24, he won two championships and scored 16,777 points.

Wizards star John Wall has done plenty to separate his No. 2 jersey from others in Wizards/Bullets franchise history as a four-time All-Star with several team records. But he can't imagine being able to recreate what Bryant did in his two uniforms.

"Once in a lifetime," Wall said.

RELATED: HOLIDAY GIFTS FOR WIZARDS FANS

Would Wall be interested in giving it a shot, changing his number to emulate Bryant and go for a double jersey retirement someday?

"That's if I can win two championships. I have to try to win one in this one first, then try the other one," he said.

Wall played against Bryant more times than Brooks and what stands out to him most is how fierce a competitor he was. Bryant was cordial off the court, before and after games. But once the ball tipped, he was ruthless.

"Every time he stepped on the court, he was dominant every day. He didn't care who it was against, whether it was practice or a game, or shootaround or 1-on-1. He just had that killer mindset. I haven't seen anybody with that type of killer instinct," Wall said.

No one compares to Bryant in that category, but there is one guy who stands out as the closest in today's game.

"The person that plays that type of dog I probably would say Russell [Westbrook]. He just goes all out. He doesn't care, it doesn't matter. No friends, no nothing. That's the closest guy I would say to having that Kobe mentality," Wall said.

Wall can be included in that mix of contemporary players who have the old school mindset of their opponents as enemies. But, as he said himself, no one quite compares to Kobe.

RELATED: LATEST NBA POWER RANKINGS

Quick Links

Pelicans' Zion Williamson leaves NBA bubble to attend to 'urgent' family matter

Pelicans' Zion Williamson leaves NBA bubble to attend to 'urgent' family matter

In an unfortunate turn of events, Pelicans star Zion Williamson has left the NBA bubble in Orlando due to an urgent family medical matter, according to the team

Williamson plans to return to the bubble at a later date, though it has not yet been determined. 

"We fully support Zion's decision to leave the NBA campus to be with his family," New Orleans VP of Basketball Operations David Griffin said in a statement. "Out of respect for the Williamson family, we will have no further comment at this time."

This is a completely understandable decision by Williamson to be with his family at an important time. Now, the Pelicans must adjust and move forward possibly in the meantime without arguably their best player. 

CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE TO THE WIZARDS TALK PODCAST

New Orleans currently sits 3 1/2  games behind the Grizzlies for the eighth seed in the Western Conference and needs to stay within four games of Memphis to force a play-in scenario. It's unclear how much time Williamson will miss,  but it will be a challenge for the Pelicans to stay in playoff contention without him. In the 19 games Williamson played this season, the team went 10-9. 

RELATED: PROJECTING WIZARDS' ROTATION FOR NBA RESTART

Locally, the Wizards may benefit from Williamson's absence if it exceeds August 7. Washington plays the Pelicans in their fifth game in the bubble, and if they still have playoff aspirations with Bradley Beal and Davis Bertans out, they're going to need every win they can get. 

Williamson will need to quarantine for four days if he tests negative for COVID-19 seven days prior to his return. If not, he will face a 10-day quarantine upon his arrival.

Stay connected to the Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

MORE WIZARDS NEWS:

Quick Links

Wizards, Mystics to wear jersey patch to honor Wes Unseld for rest of season

Wizards, Mystics to wear jersey patch to honor Wes Unseld for rest of season

The Washington Wizards will honor Wes Unseld, the greatest player in their franchise history, with a special jersey patch for the rest of the season, the team announced on Thursday.

The jersey patch is the No. 41 in the colors Unseld wore with the Washington Bullets; red, white and blue. It is located just below the right shoulder.

RELATED: UNSELD'S LEGACY WENT BEYOND THE COURT

Here is a look:

The Mystics will also wear a patch as they play their 22-game season in the WNBA. The Mystics are joined with the Wizards through Monumental Basketball. Their patch is a black band on the left shoulder.

Unseld passed away on June 2 and the age of 74. He is an NBA Hall of Famer and the only league MVP and Finals MVP in Wizards/Bullets history. Unseld also served as an executive and coach for the franchise. 

CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE TO THE WIZARDS TALK PODCAST

The Wizards will play their first game in these uniforms on July 22 when they face the Nuggets in an exhibition. They have three exhibition games before beginning their regular season on July 31 against the Phoenix Suns. 

Stay connected to the Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

MORE WIZARDS NEWS: