Retired NBA veteran J.R. Reid was drafted 5th overall by the Hornets in the 1989 NBA Draft.
He played for the San Antonio Spurs, Charlotte Hornets, New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers and Milwaukee Bucks. Reid served as a mentor to Kobe through parts of the 1999 NBA season while they were both members of the LA Lakers, Bryant’s third season in the NBA.
Upon the request of Jerry West, the guy who drafted Bryant as well as the NBA’s logo, Reid served as the unofficial mentor to Bryant. Reid knew back then that Bryant was growing into a special player. “Kobe was a great teammate,” told Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson in a recent interview.
“We tried to get him to shoot some craps with us in the back. We started cracking jokes. Kobe was put together differently than a lot of other guys. I might be reading some stock stuff, computers, car stuff and Kobe is over there reading about the Art of War. He’s trying to be a mental assassin.”
Reid himself was ahead of his time. He was the subject of a throwback episode of the Scoop B Radio podcast time capsule series. Give it a listen here.