David Jensen/Getty ImagesCharlotte Hornets veteran wing Gordon Hayward has overcome his extensive injury history to remain an effective player in the NBA, and he credits his workouts with a legendary ball player for helping to shape his resilient mentality.
While speaking on Podcast P with Paul George, Hayward explained how his time with Kobe Bryant helped him improve not only his on-court skills but also his mindset.
“I think the whole thing was him just like testing me like, ‘Who is this? Does he want to work? Is he gonna be bulls–tting, like what’s his deal? Because I’m not gonna put in the effort if he’s not going to,’ type thing,” Hayward said. “From then on, he was kind of like in my corner and he taught me more than anything, it’s just the mentality. I think that’s what really took me to the next level, was that mentality.”
Podcast P with Paul George @PodcastPShowKobe wasted no time introducing Gordon Hayward to the Mamba Mentality 😭
New episode premiering NOW: https://t.co/lXSrnsKYLl pic.twitter.com/C2NUvSI14X
Hayward has appeared in 25 games for the 7-23 Hornets and is averaging 14.5 points, 4.7 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 1.1 steals. The 33-year-old is the second-oldest player on a roster filled with youth, as 35-year-old point guard Ish Smith is the only other player on the team over the age of 30.
Hayward’s time with Bryant likely helped shape his leadership skills, which the Hornets desperately need amid their current 10-game losing streak.
Hayward will try to help Charlotte end the skid in Monday’s game against the defending champion Denver Nuggets.