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Chicago Bulls star DeMar DeRozan is having an MVP-caliber season because of a lesson he picked up from Kobe Bryant about always improving.
Kobe Bryant may be gone but his impact on basketball will remain forever, in large and small ways.
DeMar DeRozan is proof of that as he delivers an MVP-type season with the Bulls.
The 32-year-old credits Bryant with teaching him a vital lesson about continually working on your craft.
“You play the piano long enough, you’re going to get better at it. You will understand certain keys a little better, certain tones. That’s how I look at my game and that’s how I wanted to approach my game,” DeRozan told Jamal Collier of ESPN. “That was one thing I learned from Kobe.
“As long as you play, if you’re not continuously getting better at one thing, you will continue to be the same player. Even if you improve one thing a season, after a span of time, by the time you are done you have got better at X amount of things.”
DeMar DeRozan took valuable lessons from Kobe Bryant
Collier’s piece on DeRozan’s outstanding start in Chicago gets that lesson across in a few ways. The biggest is by showing DeRozan’s willingness to learn and grow as a basketball player.
For example, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich decided that DeRozan would run the point for San Antonio. It took the scorer out of his comfort zone and forced him to view the game in a different way by cultivating a new skill set.
“[As a point guard] you’ve got to understand everybody on the team. Their capabilities, their strengths, their weaknesses and how I can help them. How I could bring the best out of these players,” DeRozan said. “It started with Pop bringing the best out of me that I didn’t think I had.”
Now DeRozan is putting those lessons to good use as a more complete player than he’s ever been.