Kobe Bryant’s found some diversions to help him while away the days since his retirement — daytime hidden-camera comedy, working on an animated adaptation of his epic poem, stuff like that. Evidently, though, the Los Angeles Lakers legend and future first-ballot Hall of Famer’s still got enough time on his hands to get back in the gym and put a non-purple-and-gold-clad youngblood under his wing.
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Kobe’s not trying to work with just any neophyte, though. We’re talking about Shareef O’Neal — the prep-star son of Bryant’s teammate-turned-nemesis-turned-friend, Shaquille O’Neal — who told TMZ that the Black Mamba’s made an offer to work with him before he heads into his junior year of high school:
“I talk to Kobe sometimes,” said the younger O’Neal. “I might start training with him, because during Toronto All-Star [Weekend back in February], he was talking about [how] I need to train with him. […] Yeah, I’mma start training with Kobe soon, probably this summer. […] If we play one-on-one, I’mma try to win.”
An O’Neal vowing to come out victorious in a battle with Kobe Bryant. The wheel in the sky keeps on turning, y’all.
While he’s the son of Wilt Chamberneezy, Shareef — a 6-foot-8 forward regarded as a four-star prep prospect in the Class of 2018 by several scouting services — looks to have a bit more facility with perimeter-oriented play than his old man:
… which is not to say that the dunking gene skipped a generation:
With a combination of pedigree, size, talent and skill enticing enough to have reportedly drawn offers to play college ball at Baylor, USC, LSU, UCLA and Kansas State, Shareef looks to be well on his way to doing The Big Aristotle proud, and perhaps even following him into the NBA. Working with Bryant — long of the game’s most committed and exacting tacticians, a maniacal worker who spent years on the mechanics and footwork that would allow him to outmaneuver competitors even when his superior physical gifts failed him — can only help the young fella build on what’s already a pretty compelling foundation.
As long as Shareef can avoid challenging Kobe to a freestyle battle or asking him how his butt tastes, this should be a wonderfully productive partnership. Even if it goes south, though, it ought to absolutely crush Shareef’s high-school teammates’ stories about what they did on their summer vacations.
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