Kevin Durant has certainly been a polarizing figure in the NBA world ever since he left the Oklahoma City Thunder to team up with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green with the Golden State Warriors.
Durant endured the backlash on the way to his first NBA championship, as the Warriors dismantled everyone in their path during the 2017 NBA playoffs. Their 16-1 record in the postseason topped the 2001 Los Angeles Lakers, who went 15-1.
But before Durant joined his first title team, he had dinner with another polarizing NBA figure: Kobe Bryant. The Lakers’ great said that he talked about a lot of things with Durant, including basketball and life in general.
Bryant has been very open to helping current players now that his playing days are behind him, whether it be via advice or working out together. Recently, Durant shared the advice that Kobe offered him at that dinner, via Bay Area News Group’s Melissa Rohlin (h/t Alysha Tsuji of For The Win).
“I had dinner with him his last year, in OKC, he came and we had dinner together. The stuff we was talking about, just next level as far as what he wanted to do when he was done playing, his vision as a businessman, how he wanted to leave his mark as a basketball ambassador, it was just so much we talked about and made me appreciate his intelligent mind.”
Durant also expanded on the message that Bryant had for him.
“Always learn and grow. Always be a sponge and be curious, whether it’s about the game, off the court, on the court. Just be curious and always grow, always want to grow as a man, as a person, as a player. It’s pretty easy to see that when you’re meeting Kobe.”
Bryant recently admired rookie Kyle Kuzma for his curiosity about basketball and how to improve his game when the two had dinner together.
Kobe was an assassin on the court, and the Lakers and their fans loved him for it. He built a Hall of Fame career on that killer mentality, a career that will see both of his jersey numbers be retired by the Lakers on Monday.
But as he has gotten older and now retired from the game, it has been great to see him be so open to helping current players improve. Bryant’s impact on the game looks to be extending beyond his playing days.