With NBA All-Star Weekend touching down in L.A., athletes and musicians have been rubbing shoulders at the many events in the city over the last few days. Kendrick Lamar, who performed at LA LIVE’s Microst Square Friday Night, is someone who’s excited to welcome some iconic players to his home turf. Specifically, the rapper spoke to Billboard this weekend about his relationship with Kobe Bryant, who sees a lot himself in.
According to Kendrick, he and Kobe became friends partially due to their similar drive to work to the best their abilities. “I think from afar, we both have this willpower finding out how far we can max our potential in what we can do,” he said. “I think once you have that curiosity, it’ll keep you challenged, it’ll keep you motivated and it’ll keep you elevated. That’s what he’s done with his career, he maxed it out to this fullest on the court. Now, he’s f the court and he’s finding a whole new love for something and he’ll continue with that concept and that same idea. I think that’s what we share the most.”
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The TDE rapper also suggested that much like Kobe, he will know when it’s time for him to step down and let a new artist take the lead in the West Coast. “I think the moment when I’m not having fun with it and getting into the studio and you know, going back to the Kobe similarities, maxing out on the full potential, that’s when the fumbling happens,” he said. “Before that even happens, I’d pass it down and give it to another young boy that has that same passion that can carry that throne], but right now, I feel good. I’ll let y’all know when the final years is coming up when I’m like, “OK. This kid is it. He’s from the city. He’s it. He got it.”
As far as how he’ll know when the time is right, it’s something that should happen rather organically. “If we see the same excitement that you see in yourself in somebody else, that’s the key to evolving and giving back] in terms hip-hop,” he said. “Same way they did it to me, I’d do to someone else.”
Kendrick Lamar attended Kobe Bryant’s final game in 2016. He paid tribute to Bryant by narrating the Fade To Black documentary short for ESPN.
Read the full Billboard interview here.