Warriors’ Kuminga recalls experience meeting idol Kobe Bryant originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area
Every athlete’s journey starts with a dream, and for Warriors forward Jonathan Kuminga, his dream of playing in the NBA was inspired by the legendary Kobe Bryant.
During an interview with Robert Marawa on 947 Joburg, Kuminga revealed that the Lakers icon was his idol as he fell in love with basketball.
“I was inspired by Kobe,” Kuminga told Marawa. “I grew up watching a lot of Kobe highlights. It’s not like I had the highlights in my house. It was one of those days where your parents were like, ‘Take this money and go to the internet café and watch the videos.’ They knew I really liked basketball, and we’d have pictures of Kobe all over the house.”
When Marawa asked if ever he had the opportunity to meet Bryant, Kuminga reflected on a memory he won’t ever forget.
“Kyrie Irving was like my mentor in high school,” Kuminga said. “We went to his game when I was in high school, and right after the game, we went through the tunnel and we saw Kobe come out. It was always my dream to meet Kobe. He saw me from far away because I was a high-ranked kid in high school at the time, and I was surprised because he called my name.
“I was like, ‘Are you serious? Is Kobe calling my name right now?’ Then he walked over and took pictures with me and my teammates. I think we DM’d each other after a couple of days, and we were supposed to workout together in the summer. Then that tragedy happened a week later.”
The graciousness Bryant showed Kuminga on that night created a memory that will last a lifetime for the young Warriors forward.
Download and follow the Dubs Talk Podcast