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#pounditThursday, May 19, 2022

LaMelo Ball, Kobe Bryant share 1 key similarity, Hornets executive says

LaMelo Ball

An executive for the Charlotte Hornets can see a bit of the Mamba Mentality in LaMelo Ball.

Hornets GM Mitch Kupchak spoke this week with SI’s Chris Mannix for a feature on the 20-year-old Hornets star Ball. While Kupchak said that he would not compare Ball to the late Kobe Bryant, he did note one key similarity between the two players.

“Whether it’s making a bad pass or two because maybe he tries to stretch the limits of the pass, he’ll do it a third time,” said Kupchak of Ball. “If he misses two or three 3s, and there’s two minutes left to the game, he’ll take another one. He doesn’t get rattled, and he has great confidence in his abilities.”

Kupchak is more than qualified to speak on Bryant, having helped oversee Bryant’s entire progression in the NBA. Kupchak was a member of the Los Angeles Lakers’ front office from the time that Bryant was drafted in 1996 to the time that he retired in 2016. Unwavering confidence was indeed one of Bryant’s hallmarks as a player. He once famously said, “I would go 0-30 before I would go 0-9. 0-9 means you beat yourself, you psyched yourself out of the game.”

As for Ball, he is well on his way to greatness with 19.9 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 8.1 assists per game in just his second NBA season. Ball never loses his confidence, even when he does something embarrassing, and Kupchak believes that is definitely an important quality for Ball to have.

Photo: Jul 5, 2019; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Basketball player LaMelo Ball in attendance of the New Orleans Pelicans against the New York Knicks game during the NBA Summer League at Thomas & Mack Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

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