Last June, just days after losing in the NBA Finals, Kyrie Irving was told he might be traded to the Phoenix Suns. Concerned about his future, and unsure about how to proceed, Irving did what he’s come to rely on in such moments: He called Kobe Bryant. “He was one of the guys that I reached out to,” Irving said after a recent practice here. “Not necessarily to gauge his thoughts on the decision, or to give me the okay, but it was for some clarity and also what the next steps going forward [would be]. “Because there was some chance I was going to maybe be in Phoenix, or maybe in situations where the environment hadn’t been winning for a while, and Kobe dealt with that in 2005-06, and that was tough. So I had to ask him, and gauge him about that. “But after the fact, after everything happened, he was just super proud, and super happy.” Irving has emulated Bryant since he studied Bryant’s game in an endless series of YouTube clips while growing up in New Jersey. Bryant’s game, though, wasn’t the only thing Irving studied.
How Kobe Bryant helped shape the defining summer of Kyrie Irving’s basketball life
Washington Post | Feb 2