Jayson Tatum told mom he wanted to ‘be Kobe’ when he grew up

Some basketball players are fortunate enough to achieve their goal of reaching the NBA. For Boston Celtics second-year player Jayson Tatum, though, his goal wasn’t to just be in the league — he wanted to be Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant.

Literally.

In an interview on The Ringer’s The Bill Simmons Podcast, Tatum admitted he told his mom at the age 4 or 5 that he wanted to “be Kobe,” as Kurt Helin of NBC Sports transcribed.

when I was like 4 or 5, I’d just always tell—my mom would ask me what I wanted to be when I got older. And I would just be like, ‘I wanna be Kobe.’ She’d be like, ‘You wanna be in the NBA?’ ‘No, like, I wanna be Kobe.’ He was just my favorite player. I had his posters, all his jerseys. That was my guy.”

As you can imagine, as a massive fan of the Black Mamba, Tatum actually used to “hate Boston,” he told Simmons. Obviously, things have changed drastically since that point, and considering the former No. 3 pick is coming off a rookie season in which he averaged 13.9 points and 5.0 rebounds, it’s safe to say Boston loves their young forward.

Who knows, maybe Tatum will get a chance to square off with the Lakers in the NBA Finals sooner than later. Unfortunately, he never got the chance to face his favorite player in Bryant, who called it a career after the 2015-16 season.

Tatum was a finalist for the 2018 NBA Rookie of the Year Award, and he’s in the midst of carving out his own impressive story. The 20-year-old looks like a home run pick by the Celtics, and even with a loaded (and healthy) roster next season, he’ll still have a huge role.

Source: Heavy Sports