"Looking back on it, he dropped so many jewels on me that I didn't even hear because I was not there mentally. I remember one time we were in Houston and I went to his room with his security guard. Kobe comes in and says, 'You know, when you go on these road trips, you want to have fun, you want to turn up, you want to do all that in these cities.' But he said, 'I gained an edge by taking meetings on these road trips, business meetings. What can I do to establish my brand, figure out what I like to do, advance my life after basketball?'"
Russell said it's a lesson many athletes don't learn until it's too late to capitalize on their peak popularity.
"But looking back on it, I'm like, man, he was really teaching me what's really relevant now and a lot of kids don't get it until they're 8-10 years in and realize what they want to do," he told Slater. "Then they attack it, but they're on their way out and their (ability to make money) isn't the same."
The Lakers selected Russell with the second overall pick in the 2015 draft. He spent one season playing alongside Bryant before the 18-time All-Star retired.
Although Kobe is no longer on the floor competing every night, he told ESPN's Jackie MacMullan in 2017 he's continued to make himself available to any players who've reached out.
"I'm around for all the guys," he said. "Anybody can reach out. It's an open book."
The Philadelphia native, who's now 41, said he's simply extended the same courtesy provided to him by older players when he joined the NBA as the 13th overall pick in 1996.
"I was happy to help [Isaiah Thomas]. He had the courage to ask," Bryant told MacMullan. "I did the same thing with Michael Jordan when I was a young player."
Meanwhile, Russell has bounced around the league with trades to the Brooklyn Nets in 2017 and the Warriors this past July.
Now on his third team in his fifth professional season, he's finally taking Bryant's advice for his rookie season to heart.