Kobe Bryant Learned The Game From MJ—Michael Jackson, That Is

In an epic profile from Yahoo! Sports this afternoon, Kobe Bryant describes his relationship with, yes, Michael Jackson:

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They would talk for hours and hours, visiting at Neverland Ranch, and Bryant has long been fortified by the lessons Jackson instilled about the burden of honoring true talent, about the ways to open your mind to be smarter, sharper and insatiable in the chase.

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"We would always talk about how he prepared to make his music, how he prepared for concerts. He would teach me what he did: How to make a ‘Thriller’ album, a ‘Bad’ album, all the details that went into it. It was all the validation that I needed – to know that I had to focus on my craft and never waver."

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Say this much for Kobe: it takes a lot of courage to tell anyone about intimate "mentoring" sessions with Michael Jackson at Neverland Ranch. But he's stronger for it, you know? HE'S STRONGER.

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He's still here, and he's got nothing to fear!

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...Anyway, you should really read the full article here, as it's well worth your time, and full of other quotable goodness from Kobe. We'll have more on this in tomorrow's NBA Talking Points, but for now, one more great quote from Kobe, asked about the power dynamics of the 2012 Olympic with LeBron coming of age:

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I really don’t give a [expletive]. I’m not curious about it. Give me my [expletive] gold medal and then let me try to win another NBA championship. Let’s practice, have a good time, and if you need me in the last two minutes of the game, I’ll be coming in to pull the [expletive] out.

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