Filipino-American sensation Jalen Green has drawn comparisons to the late great Kobe Bryant, especially when the former signed with the G League.
Ignite coach Brian Shaw — who played with Kobe for four years and worked with the Black Mamba as an assistant coach for the Los Angeles Lakers from 2005 to 2011 — said there will never be another Kobe.
He does not want Green to be the next Kobe. He wants Green to be his own man and blaze his own path.
“First of all, I would never compare anybody to Kobe. There’s only one Kobe and I want Jalen to be Jalen.”
But the 54-year-old mentor admitted there is some semblance of Kobe in Green.
For example, Green’s work ethic and desire to be great are Kobe-like, according to Shaw.
“There are times that I want to protect him from himself because he just wants to keep on working, and I try to explain to him that you have to let your body recover and recuperate. You can’t just keep pounding every day,” said Shaw.
“Kobe was that way early on. He didn’t use to ice and stretch and all of that. I saw him over the years develop his discipline.”
Shaw wants to see Green reach the level of Kobe, the level of being above great players too.
And the process for Green to jumpstart his career starts at Ignite.
Shaw acknowledged that Green already “has the footwork, bounce, willingness to learn, very coachable, and the competitiveness.”
What they are trying to instill in the young prodigy’s skillset are the fundamentals.
“To me, what separated Michael Jordan and Kobe from every other great player that was at their position… You take Vince Carter, Dwyane Wade, Ray Allen, Tracy McGrady — the difference was some of those guys were more athletic than Kobe and Michael,” said Shaw.
“But Kobe and Michael had footwork, the fundamentals on top of the athleticism, and the basketball IQ. So that’s what I want Jalen to get.”
And for the 18-year-old’s part, he is doing his homework on the road to stardom by watching videos of Kobe’s work and hustle.
He just started watching Kobe in his third year in San Joaquin Memorial, and has been watching him since.
“Crazy thing is I didn’t start watching Kobe until junior year — like really focusing on it, breaking down his film and stuff,” said the 6-foot-6 shooting guard.
Asked about what he notices on the Kobe videos he watches, he mentioned a lot of simple but important things in basketball.
Luckily for Green, Shaw has been on his side watching the films, mentoring him as well.
“His patience. He gets to spots wherever he wants, the mechanics, killer instinct — the whole bunch of thing,” said Green of what he sees on the films.