GLENDALE, Ariz. — Mamba out? Mamba in.
Kobe Bryant had a mic-drop exit from the NBA, and a jaw-dropping entrance to the Gonzaga Bulldogs on their first night at the Final Four.
“We thought we were just going into a normal film session,” reported junior guard Nigel Williams-Goss. “Some of the Nike reps were talking to us and said they had somebody coming to speak to us that really personifies to have that mentality and then out came Kobe from the back and we just went crazy.”
And selfie crazy.
Several popped up on Twitter shortly thereafter, including Bryant with Zags center Przemek Karnowski and with walk-on Rem Bakamus, whose old basketball program at Mark Morris High School in Longview had some fun with it.
“Quite the superstar encounter last night,” tweeted the MMHS account. “After waiting in line forever, Kobe Bryant was finally able to meet @RemFifteen.”
The Los Angeles Lakers great’s message to the Bulldogs wasn’t anything particularly deep. It came in the form of a challenge, but a reassuring one.
“If you’re nervous before the game,” Bryant told them, “then you might need to take a look in the mirror.”
Said Williams-Goss, “Whatever Kobe says about basketball, you’ve got to put into practice. And what he said was true — we have prepared and worked all season for this. There’s nothing to be nervous about.”