Kobe Bryant’s advice to Celtics’ Isaiah Thomas: “Be a lion”

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Even after Kobe Bryant walks away from the game at the end of this season, it’s easy to picture him as the guru on the mountaintop that many future players seek out for advice. Sort of like Hakeem Olajuwon has become for anyone wanting to work on post moves.

That has started out already, and not just with the young players on the Lakers.

Boston’s dynamic guard Isaiah Thomas wanted just to meet and talk with Kobe for a minute before the Lakers took on the Celtics this week, but as Thomas told the Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach, it became much more than that.

Thomas hoped to simply say hello and perhaps have him sign a jersey.

“But he came and sat down and talked, just me and him, for like 20 minutes,” Thomas said Friday. “It was probably the best talk I’ve ever had….

“He told me this story about how a lion seeks food, whatever he’s gonna kill and eat,” Thomas said. “And you know how many bugs are on the lion’s eyes and gnats on his body? He’s so locked in on that zebra that he doesn’t get distracted by anything else. He said if you get distracted by little things, then you’re not as locked in as you think you are. He said for me to be a lion, and that’s gonna stick with me the rest of my life.”

Thomas has some lion in him already, or a 5’9″ guy drafted 60th wouldn’t have become a 20 point a game scorer in the NBA. Also, that lion story is about the most Kobe story there can be — the hunter ignoring distractions to focus solely on his prey.

Thomas had 24 points on 7-of-13 shooting in the game, but Kobe had the strong fourth quarter and sunk the dagger into the Celtics one last time in the Lakers 112-104 win.