Could 18-time Los Angeles Lakers All-Star shooting guard Kobe Bryant have excelled in another sport entirely? The “Bronze Bomber” sure seems to think so.
Former boxing heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder recently spoke with Bally Sports’ Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson while on a Bovada Sports segment.
When asked by Robinson if he was a big basketball fiend, Wilder conceded that boxing was the sport that so drove his focus, he didn’t carve out time for others. “It’s a year-round sport so you’ve got to breathe, eat and sleep it,” Wilder reflected. “[There are] no days off when you’re talking about the business.”
Robinson followed up by asking Wilder for his take on which NBA athlete would have the physical and mental tools necessary to thrive in boxing. Though asked for a current player, Wilder’s thoughts immediately turned to the deceased Lakers great. “Man I wish Kobe was still alive. Kobe used to [box] a lot too.” Bryant was a known boxing fan. He made a point to take in a Manny Pacquiao workout when the multi-weight division champ came to town in 2011.
Wilder certainly has the cred to be able to scout boxing talent. The 6’7″ 36-year-old kept the World Boxing Council heavyweight crown from 2015-2020, finally losing his title in February 2020 to Tyson Fury. Wilder had successfully defended his WBC crown in their first match, having beaten the Brit in June 2018 at the Lakers’ home arena, the then-Staples Center. The duo faced off for a third time in October 2021, another Fury victory. Wilder is scheduled to have his first bout since that battle at the Barclays Center, home to the Brooklyn Nets, on October 15th against Finnish boxer Robert Helenius.