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Jayson Tatum on Training with Kobe Bryant: I Was 'Like a Kid in a Candy Store'

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistMay 11, 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 forward Jayson Tatum worked out with Kobe Bryant after his rookie season in what unsurprisingly became a memorable experience for the All-Star.

He spoke about the opportunity on the latest episode of All the Smoke:

"I was like a kid in a candy store," Tatum said. "I kept talking to myself like, 'I'm working out with Kobe.' I couldn't believe it at the time."

The 22-year-old explained what he took away from the sessions.

"A lot of attention to detail," Tatum said of the workouts. "It wasn't really anything that I couldn't do. It was a bunch of moves that he'd seen me do and that he did. It was all little things to think about. That's what I really took from it, the little things that he would think about that I never really heard anyone else in how they approach the game."

He noted the improvements with his jab step and creating separation.

Tatum was the No. 3 pick of the 2017 draft and had a strong rookie season with 13.9 points per game, but he made significant strides in each of his next two years. He earned his first All-Star selection in 2019-20 and was averaging 23.6 points and 7.1 rebounds per game before the season was suspended. 

He created an emotional Instagram post after Bryant died in a helicopter crash in January, featuring several pictures of himself alongside the Hall of Famer. 

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"Heart broken. My Hero. My Idol," Tatum wrote in the caption. "The reason I started to play this game, the reason I fell in love with this game. Growing up wanting to be just like you, to you becoming a mentor, beyond thankful for everything you’ve done for me."

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