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Celtics' Jayson Tatum Says Working Out with Kobe Bryant Was a 'Surreal Moment'

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistAugust 13, 2020

Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics handles the ball during the second half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Mike Ehrmann/Pool Photo via AP)
Mike Ehrmann/Associated Press

Boston Celtics All-Star Jayson Tatum still can't believe he had the opportunity to work out with Kobe Bryant.

Tatum called the session, which came when he was a 20-year-old, a "surreal moment" during an appearance on the OMJ Pod with JJ Redick and Tommy Alter (around 2:15 into the video), pointing out he watched the Los Angeles Lakers legend while growing up and fell in love with basketball in part because of his Kobe fandom.

"I'm here working out with you because you inspired me without even knowing," Tatum said of Bryant, who died in January. "Besides my son being born, that's like the best day of my life … I'll never forget that day."

Tatum has taken what he learned from Bryant and established himself as one of the best wing players in the league at just 22 years old. He was a first-time All-Star this season and is averaging 23.4 points and 7.0 rebounds per game and led the Celtics to the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference even though Kyrie Irving left the team last offseason and Kemba Walker has dealt with knee troubles.

He's still looking for his first championship as he chases Bryant's five, but there is no questioning Tatum's place as a rising star.

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