Paul George said this week he got encouragement from a unique source to deal with his broken leg earlier this year.
George, who is likely to miss the entire season for the Indiana Pacers, told the Los Angeles News Group in an interview that Bryant called him immediately after the injury, which came during a USA Basketball scrimmage in August. Bryant told George to take advantage of his time on the sidelines.
"What I took away from him reaching out is that you have to become the best teammate, be a student and observe the game," George said. "Being out, you have to take it as a positive and sit back and learn."
"Having been through these types of situations myself, I wanted him to know if he needed some advice on how I tried to work on my game, even though I wasn't playing, to give me a call," Bryant said. "I'd like to talk to him a little bit."
The two did, and have remained in contact. They saw each other earlier this week, when the Pacers routed the Lakers 110-91.
In the interview, George recalled a 2012 game when Bryant scored 33 points and yelled to then-Pacers assistant Bryan Shaw, a former Bryant teammate, "Check the young fella for feathers."
"I always remember that moment," George told the LA News Group.
Bryant remembered Shaw telling him about George.
"B. Shaw let me know this kid has a lot of talent," Bryant said. "He said, 'I'd greatly appreciated it if you took it to him a little bit and show him what it's like.' That's what I did."
George also told the LA News Group that "there wasn't even a chance for me to look at going to L.A" when he was a free agent.
"I want to write my own chapter and be a player to come into my own," George said. "As great it would be to team up with a guy like Kobe, he's still built his legacy and has paved the way for himself. I want to do the same thing he did with sticking with one franchise and riding it out."