How Kobe Bryant uniquely influenced Klay Thompson in Mychal Thompson’s eyes

Like many others, Klay Thompson idolized Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant growing up — and he was fortunate enough to do it up close.

His dad Mychal Thompson, who was a longtime radio announcer for the Lakers, would often bring Klay to the gym with him for a closer look at greatness.

And Klay took notes.

Mychal joined 95.7 The Game’s “Willard & Dibs” on Thursday and discussed the immeasurable impact Bryant had and continues to have on his son.

“It would make my job easy when it came to basketball,” Thompson said. “Because I could take him to Staples Center and say, ‘There’s Kobe, go talk to him.’ Then Kobe would take the time and be gracious enough to talk to Klay and other young people like Klay who were basketball players who were coming up. And he would tell them about the right way to approach the game, the right way to play [and] to have passion for the game.

“Yeah, you can hear that from your parents all the time. But when you have a legend, an icon like Kobe giving that type of advice, I could just sit back and relax a little bit, because he’s gonna listen to that guy probably more than he’s gonna listen to me.”

Klay, now a four-time NBA champion, has always been outspoken about his admiration for the late, great NBA star.

The Warriors sharpshooter suffered major back-to-back injuries that kept him off the court for more than two years. And during the long road to recovery, Klay’s mindset, aka Mamba Mentality, helped him return to the hardwood and win his fourth title in eight seasons.

It was a remarkable and inspiring journey that earned Klay the “Best Comeback Athlete” award at this year’s ESPYs, where he thanked many people who helped him along the process.

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“The best memories I have growing up here in Southern California are going to STAPLES [Center] with my father. I had a privileged life,” Thompson said in the speech. “He was a commentator for the Lakers, and I would go to every game early just to watch Kobe do his thing.

“Lastly, I would like to thank the Bryant family because — I don’t know if Vanessa’s out there watching — but to Vanessa and her three beautiful girls, we think of Kobe and Gigi every day. I read ‘Mamba Mentality’ every day during rehab. Those are the best memories of my life watching him play. He inspired me to be the athlete I am today.”

Just about everyone’s inspiring story is inspired by someone else, and while Klay never hesitates to give credit where it’s due, he’s making out to be a pretty great inspiration himself.

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