Kobe Bryant issued challenges to everyone—OK, not everyone—but the Black Mamba set some pretty hefty goals for a slew of people.
One of the greatest basketball players to ever lace up a pair of sneakers, Kobe Bean Bryant knows a thing or two about overcoming challenges. The man’s resume speaks for itself.
A pair of players, John Harris (1981) and Hall of Famer Kenny Easley (1984) share the team’s single-season record with 10 interceptions each. Sherman has twice picked off eight passes (2012, 2013), but hasn’t snagged more than four in a season since.
Sherman, 29, is still one of the NFL’s elite corners, but it’s going to take a Herculean effort on his part to answer Kobe’s call.
One of the fastest women in the world, Allyson Felix, was next on Kobe’s list.
A winner of 36 track-and-field medals over the course of her career—including nine in the Summer Olympics (six gold, three silver), Felix is more than qualified to meet Kobe’s challenge—to coach the sprinters in the upcoming Special Olympics.
Felix’s participation would only help to raise the profile of an often overlooked-but-important athletic competition—and raise the spirits of the athletes involved.
Bryant turned his attention away from the playing field and into the world of music with his next challenge, taking aim at Kendrick Lamar.
Whether you believe that Kendrick is the greatest rapper of all-time or not is largely irrelevant. There isn’t a bigger name in hip-hop these days (sorry, Jay-Z), and giving back to his alma mater, Centennial High School in Compton, CA, is something Lamar has done more than once.
In fact, he was recognized on the floor of the California State Senate in 2015 for his charitable contributions not only to Centennial High School but to a number of programs in his hometown.
This is one challenge that we can rest assured Kendrick is up for. How he goes about “revolutionizing” what is already widely regarded as one of the better music programs in the country, though, is going to be interesting to see.
Speaking of hometowns, Kobe’s home for 20 years was on the hardwood. So it’s fitting that his final two challenges were issued to current NBA players. First up, Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan.
This one is, well, a bit of a mystery. Who could Kobe be talking about? Is it Kendrick? DeRozan is 28 years old while Lamar is 30, so it’s entirely possible that they hung out in their younger days.
No matter who Kobe is referencing, odds are we’ll never know whether DeRozan answered the call on this one.
Finally, Bryant set some lofty heights for one of the NBA’s shortest superstars, 5’9″ Isaiah Thomas, one of the newest members of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Kobe made All-NBA First Team 11 times over the course of his career. Thomas, meanwhile, has only been All-NBA once, being named to the second team after his career year in the 2016-17 season with Boston.
That’s going to be a tall order (no pun intended) for Thomas, who will be battling the likes of Stephen Curry, James Harden, Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook and the man he was just traded for, Kyrie Irving, for one of the two available first-team guard spots.
Still, Thomas has been rising to the occasion his entire career. With LeBron James and Kevin Love as his running mates in Cleveland, it’d be foolish to think the diminutive spark plug couldn’t rise to the challenge once again.