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"Kobe came in at 19, he knew he was this s**t, he just knew it" - Shaquille O'Neal compares Ja Morant's attitude to a young Kobe Bryant

Ja Morant #12 of the Memphis Grizzlies
Ja Morant #12 of the Memphis Grizzlies
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Charles Eluemuno

Ja Morant has been inspirational this season and has now been compared to the legendary Kobe Bryant. NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille O'Neal made the statement, saying Morant, who has led the Memphis Grizzlies to third place in the West, reminded him of a younger Kobe.

Greatness is always recognized, which is why Morant has drawn praise from several hot shots in the basketball community. His explosiveness and hunger to win have been a driving force in his career and could lead him to his first All-Star appearance this February in Cleveland.

The 2020 Rookie of the Year earlier stated that he is one of the top-five guards in the league, and is backing up that claim. Morant has led the Grizzlies to a 31-16 record so far this season in the Western Conference, only behind the Phoenix Suns and Golden State Warriors.

Speaking on "The Big Podcast With Shaq," Big Diesel was asked by Nischelle Turner about his comments on Morant and Kobe, and the big man proceeded to clarify. He talked about how the similarity was more about their approach to the game rather than their skill set.

"I wasn't talking about the player. I was talking about the attitude. When Kobe came in at 19 he knew he was the s**t, he just knew it. The coach will be like, 'don't do that play,' Kobe would be like, 'nope I'm doing it.' Like this kid is really freaking good and he knows it."

O'Neal added:

"And there's not a lot of people you can say that about in this league as a young player. That's what I mean by that. He knows it, he wasn't highly drafted, wasn't highly talked about, made a name for himself late in the NCAA, but he knows he's good. He knows that's his team and he's playing really well. That's what I meant by that."

Being linked to the Black Mamba is a noteworthy commendation, as Kobe played the game the right way and achieved success for his efforts. Ja Morant could very well be on the same trajectory. The young guard has shown that he is here to stay and has continued to elevate his game with each passing year.


Ja Morant led the Grizzlies to an 11-game win streak

Ja Morant #12 of the Memphis Grizzlies reacts after scoring against the Phoenix Suns.
Ja Morant #12 of the Memphis Grizzlies reacts after scoring against the Phoenix Suns.

The Grizzlies have the second-best win streak so far this season, winning 11 consecutive games from December 26, 2021 to January 13, 2022. In this regard, they are only behind the Suns, who went on an 18-game streak after losing three of their first four games this season.

Morant has been leading the charge for the Grizzlies and has almost guaranteed their spot in the 2022 playoffs. If they continue with their great form, they will go into the postseason with a home-court advantage.

Ja Morant’s highlight reel this season is unreal. 🔥(via @NBA) https://t.co/lQY1DBmqRO

Morant has made such an incredible leap in his career, and it is beautiful to see. The 2019 NBA draft's second overall pick has upgraded his game in all areas of the floor. He was a terrible shooter from deep during his first two seasons but has made significant improvements in that area.

This season, Ja Morant has averaged 24.7 points, 5.8 rebounds, 6.9 assists, and 1.3 steals per game. He is shooting 48.5% from the field and 35.8% from beyond the arc.


Edited by Anantaajith Ra
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