Kobe hears the Bynum comparisons
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Kobe Bryant hears the comparisons between himself and Andrew Bynum, and he shakes his head.
Yes, they were both boy wonders in the NBA, peach-faced kids straight out of high school playing with grizzled veterans. But there, says Kobe Bryant, the comparison ends.
While Bynum, in his second NBA season at age 19, is still searching for the confidence and aggression that might make him a dominant NBA center, Kobe Bryant recalls that was never a problem for him, even though he was only 17 on the day he was drafted.
"I was a different animal, man," Kobe Bryant said. "Andrew is really timid. I don't think I had a timid bone in my body.
"I've seen more aggression from him than I have in the past. He has a quiet aggression to him. It's key for him to tap into that every day and expand it as his career goes on.
"It will depend entirely on him and the kind of tenacity he wants to bring every day. If he's determined to be one of the elite players in the league, he can do that. He has the gifts to do it. It's just a matter of whether he wants it or not."
But, concedes Kobe Bryant, Bynum is in a daunting position right now.
"You are shell shocked," Kobe Bryant said, "when you come out of high school right into the NBA. We've already played more games right now than he has in his entire high school career.
Kobe Bryant says there is one comparison between himself and the 7-0, 285-pound center that is valid. They both brought their teenage eating habits – fast food piled upon fast food – with them into the pros.
Bynum, who once snuck out of practice to grab a sugar snack , says he changed those habits when he found himself suffering from a lack of energy. He has hired a nutritionist and says he is trying to stick to a sensible diet.
Did Kobe Bryant have the same problems with his diet at that age?
"I still do," he said. "I eat junk food and run all day. I'm a bad example. My teammates tell me all the time that I must have some secret potion. It doesn't make any sense what I do."