Wesley Matthews is a well-traveled NBA player, playing for six teams in his 11-year career. This is definitely not unforeseen, as it usually takes a special type of player to stay longer than five to seven years with one team. If you’re just a role player, chances are that you will be moved around many times throughout your career as teams are always constantly trying to improve in the short-term or the long-term. One player that was definitely special and definitely stayed in one place for a long time is none other than the late Kobe Bryant. Although Matthews and Bryant never played with each other and they don’t really have much in common, they do share one common ground that severely impacted both of their careers. That common ground is the fact that both suffered season-ending injuries to their Achilles.
Kobe Bryant’s Achilles injury was more severe, as he ruptured his Achilles while Wesley Matthews only tore his Achilles. Even with a lesser injury, the Achilles tear is no joke and can severely impact a player’s athletic ability. Matthews suffered the injury while on the Portland Trail Blazers in his sixth season and recounted a story of Kobe Bryant reaching out to him while speaking to reporters on Tuesday (transcription courtesy of Harrison Faigen/Silver Screen & Roll).
“He hit me up, so I tore it when I was in Portland playing against Dallas and he didn’t have my number, we didn’t reach out any time before that, but I’m pulling into my driveway and I remember getting a call and I have no idea what this number is, and it’s Kobe. And he was just sharing his wisdom about it, and it really helped motivate me because he was honest, and he said ‘it’s hard.’ He said ‘it’s going to be hard.’ And at the time that’s not what you want to hear, but it’s what I needed to hear, because I didn’t want anything sugar coated. I wanted to know what it was that I was going to have to go through, and that helped, and he was always an outlet for me. And I like to think that I can be that for other people.”
Here is Matthews' story about Kobe reaching out to him, a story he sort of choked up while telling. He said he's tried to pay that help forward to other players who have torn their Achilles since. pic.twitter.com/nDw7FrEUp8
— Harrison Faigen (@hmfaigen) November 24, 2020
Matthews was reportedly visibly emotional while telling the story, as he becomes another NBA player in a long list of players that were extremely affected by Kobe Bryant in their careers. The story also shows how Kobe’s “Mamba Mentality” will continue to be carried on to younger generations, as Matthews has felt so positively affected by Kobe reaching out to him regarding his injury that Matthews says he will want to do that for players now and in the future.