“The next Will Smith”- How an Up-and-Coming Kobe Bryant Left Shaq Speechless Over His Crazy Commitment

Published 11/26/2022, 6:00 PM EST

Late basketball legend Kobe Bryant wanted to be the next Will Smith. While Will Smith is considered to be a living legend for his career in Hollywood, Kobe Bryant was at the pinnacle of his basketball career. Both of them came from humble beginnings and struggled immensely to reach the well-deserved fame and fan following.

Unfortunately, Bryant passed away in 2020 in an accident, but fellow players and fans remember him fondly to this day. Fellow basketball player Shaquille O’Neal had a bittersweet dynamic with him. The latter shared how his Lakers mate once left him speechless by making a comparison of himself to Will Smith.

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How a confident Kobe Bryant compared himself to Will Smith once

Humans tend to define the pinnacles of success by looking up to an example. For basketball player Kobe Bryant, it was actor Will Smith. In the 2011 book Shaq Uncut, Shaquille O’Neal mentioned how a young Bryant was immature but confident of his own success.

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While traveling with him on the bus once, the latter said, “I’m going to be the number one scorer for the Lakers, I’m going to win five or six championships, and I’m going to be the best player in the game.” At that point, O’Neal just shrugged it off until he was left speechless by Bryant’s statement, “I’m going to be the Will Smith of the NBA.” 

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It was likely difficult for the former to believe his mate’s statement but it turned out to be true. Both the Lakers players have won three back-to-back championships and are considered one of the most successful basketball players of all time. Although they also shared rivalry which came in the way of their continued success for their team.

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O’Neal also admitted to being harder on Bryant, who was lovingly called as Mamba. But appreciated his hard work despite their differences. As for Bryant’s prediction of his own career, he was astonishingly accurate in how it would turn out. What do you think of Kobe Bryant’s comparison of himself to the I Am Legend actor? Comment your thoughts.

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Neha Subhash Ghag

1435 articles

Neha Ghag is writer at NetflixJunkie. She is a law graduate from Dr. Dy Patil college of law but found her passion in content writing.

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