Jayson Tatum Talks Seeing Kobe Bryant in Michael Jordan's 'The Last Dance'

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMay 4, 2020

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - MARCH 10:  Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics dribbles the ball against the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on March 10, 2020 in Indianapolis, Indiana.    NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum acknowledged it was "tough" to see footage of Kobe Bryant during The Last Dance documentary.  

In the fifth episode of the series Sunday, Bryant was featured both in archival footage and a sit-down interview conducted before his death in January. The Los Angeles Lakers legend spoke about Jordan's impact on his NBA career:

ESPN @espn

"I don't get five championships here without him." #TheLastDance https://t.co/RLcN0gmDrv

Tatum called Bryant his "hero" and "idol" in an Instagram post in January, so that portion of The Last Dance hit hard for the 2020 All-Star.

"Seeing him on the screen, it kinda reminded you he's really gone," Tatum said on Jordan Brand's The Encore. "I think that was tough for a lot of people. But seeing them interact, especially in that All-Star Game, for Mike to refer to him as 'that little Laker boy,' I think everybody got a kick out of that."

Jordan @Jumpman23

Tune in to The Encore now to see @SageSteele, @JayTatum0, and @TeyanaTaylor recap #TheLastDance. #JUMPMAN https://t.co/2iFdwHaWsA

Especially after his retirement in 2016, Bryant took it upon himself to work out with some of the NBA's best and most promising talents and offer his advice.

Tatum was among those who sought guidance from Bryant, to the point where some questioned whether it had adversely impacted his game.

Adam Himmelsbach @AdamHimmelsbach

Jayson Tatum was asked about shooting fewer mid-range jumpers and he pushed back on the narrative and offered a strong defense of Kobe. https://t.co/cOf1uzFOL3

While The Last Dance is ostensibly about the Chicago Bulls' 1997-98 season, it has covered aspects of Jordan's career and legacy that extend well beyond that one year.

Jordan and Bryant were opponents in the 1998 All-Star Game, Kobe's first All-Star appearance. The documentary was also naturally going to touch on their general dynamic since Bryant modeled his game after MJ in a way no other player has.

Tatum almost certainly wasn't the only person who felt equally mournful and happy to see the 18-time All-Star show up Sunday night.