1:12 AM ET
Long before Kobe Bryant grudgingly attended the Los Angeles Lakers‘ free-agent pitch meetings for Dwight Howard in 2013 and LaMarcus Aldridge in 2014, he identified a rare talent who could eventually want to inherit the mantle Bryant left with the franchise.
Bryant was the elder statesman on the 2012 Olympic team that won a gold medal in London. Anthony Davis was its young buck. The best college player and recent No. 1 overall pick in the NBA draft was added to the roster for his own basketball edification, though not expected to contribute much.
But Bryant saw something in the lanky 19-year-old, and when he ran into Davis’ parents at the team hotel, he let them know he would be looking out for their son.
“When we first got there,” Anthony Davis Sr. told ESPN, “Kobe came over to us and said, ‘Mr. Davis, I got your boy with me. I’m taking the young fella under my wing. He’s going everywhere I go this whole Olympics.’ And that’s what he did. Wherever Kobe went, Anthony went.'”
Davis even tweeted about it.