“The impact that he had on so many people around the world is so evident even to this day,” Tatum said of Bryant. “Even for me, a kid that grew up thousands of miles away from L.A. that watched him play, watched his interviews and his workouts and just wanted to steal so much of his game and his personality and his mindset from him. And it is just cool how somebody so far away can have such impact on me and really is a huge reason why I am who I am today and why I made it this far. And once I got to the league to be able to develop a relationship with him and get to know him somewhat of a personal level, he was my idol growing up. So, I always honor him when I can.”
Tatum added Bryant’s mindset remains with him today.
“He asked me, ‘How much would it mean to you to win a championship or be the best player that you can possibly be?” Tatum said. “‘What are you truly willing to sacrifice to be that, whether that’s being a good friend or being a good family member or sacrificing free time? Are you using this small window of time to maximize your abilities? How much does that really mean to you?'”
It appears that the Wizards decided to move Wes Unseld Jr. into the front office as a result of the big picture.
“No single moment, no single loss prompted Washington Wizards executives to remove Wes Unseld Jr. as their head coach Thursday, wrote Josh Robbins of The Athletic. “The decision occurred because of an unmistakable pattern this season. Although many players made individual improvements, the team as a whole continued to struggle, with precious few exceptions. The defense looked inept. Players’ efforts often lagged. The same mistakes recurred game after game. And through it all, Unseld made no changes to the starting lineup when players were healthy and did not cut the minutes of underperforming rotation players.
“The Wizards won only seven of their 43 games this season under Unseld, but the tipping point wasn’t the sheer number of losses. It was more about how they lost most of those games. Monumental Basketball president Michael Winger and Wizards general manager Will Dawkins could not envision things improving this season if Unseld remained as the coach.”
- Winger on the changes: “It sort of became clearer that there was just this sustained something less than our most competitive selves. You just kept feeling it and seeing it, and Wes did, too. I mean, he saw it. He knew it. He felt it. And he gave it everything he had.”
Forward Miles Bridges continues to draw plenty of trade interest ahead of the Feb. 8 deadline — with the Utah Jazz, Phoenix Suns and Detroit Pistons among those with Bridges on the radar, per Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports.
“The Jazz are also one of several teams who’ve called on Charlotte Hornets forward Miles Bridges, league sources told Yahoo Sports, along with Detroit and Phoenix,” Fischer wrote. “Bridges would have to be consulted prior to any deal, as he received a no-trade clause when he signed a qualifying offer from Charlotte.”