Wesley Matthews is now a member of the Los Angeles Lakers, and the significance is definitely not lost on him.
Speaking with the media Tuesday for the first time as a Laker, the veteran swingman shared a great story about the late Kobe Bryant. Matthews said that Bryant was there for him after he suffered a torn Achilles.
“One of the people that helped me through mine was Kobe,” said Matthews, per Mike Trudell of Spectrum SportsNet. “He shared his wisdom about it. It helped motivate me because he was honest. He said it’s going to be hard. It’s what I needed to hear.”
Trudell adds that Matthews was emotional recalling the moment and wished to thank Bryant for reaching out when he didn’t have to.
Bryant, who passed away in a helicopter crash in January along with his daugther Gianna and seven others, tore his own Achilles in 2013 at age 34. He returned to play three more NBA seasons. Matthews, now 34 himself, suffered his tear in 2015. He has since returned to a solid level of play, and next season will mark his sixth since the injury.
Another NBA player recently shared a similar story, and it is obvious that Bryant’s impact will continue to be felt for a long time to come.