Boston Celtics All-Star point guard Isaiah Thomas has jumped at the chance of getting advice from Kobe Bryant over the course of these NBA playoffs, telling ESPN that the retired hoops legend is mentally "one of the greatest ever."
But LaVar Ball is saying thanks but no thanks on any advice that the Black Mamba might have for him and his son Lonzo Ball.
The outspoken dad of Lonzo, who is expected to be a top three selection in the 2017 NBA Draft next month, explained why that's the case on Keyshawn, Jorge and LZ on ESPN Radio 710 LA this morning.
"I don't need no advice from Kobe Bryant," Ball said. "I don't need advice from Kobe Bryant. 'Zo's got to play his game."
But what if the same Los Angeles Lakers, whom Bryant played 20 seasons with before retiring last April, drafts Lonzo and the five-time champion tries to give the 19-year-old some pointers here and there?
"If they're at practice and he sees something and Lonzo listens to him or whatever, he's good. But it's just not, 'OK, I'm talking to Kobe, so now I'm going to be good,'" Ball further explained. "If Kobe sees something that 'Zo is doing, then go from there. But I'm not trying to pattern after nobody."
We understand being your own man, but being willing to turn down advice from a legend like Bryant, who has been in just about every basketball situation imaginable, is inexplicable.
Then again, so is Mr. Ball setting a $495 price point for Lonzo's ZO2 Prime sneakers and saying Michael Jordan could never slap a price tag like that on his kicks "because he ain't Lonzo Ball." Ditto for LaVar saying he could have defeated MJ 1-on-1 back in the day.
So, going against the grain of what has been the norm seems to be Mr. Ball's penchant.
Perhaps Keyshawn, Jorge and LZ felt compelled to ask Ball about Kobe because Bryant recently told ESPN that his inspiration to mentor younger players — like Thomas — came from an old visit to Michael Jackson at the Neverland Ranch. Jackson reportedly told Bryant to reach out to the greats in basketball, the way that he did in music.
"I'm around for all the guys," Bryant told ESPN. "Anybody can reach out. It's an open book."
Well, that book has apparently been shut by Mr. Ball on behalf of his son Lonzo.
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(Photo from left: Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images, Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images)